aca & the new normal

For Half of U.S., $100 a Month or Less Is the Most People Can Afford to Pay for Health Insurance

More than 60% of Millennials echo this sentiment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, Nov 10, 2016 /Marketwired/ – With 2017 rates now available for review on, HealthPocket conducted a nationwide survey of Americans regarding health insurance affordability.

1,133 people from across the country were asked, “Given the rate increases on health insurance, what is the highest monthly premium you could afford to pay for health insurance in 2017?”

Half of Americans’ answer to the survey question was “$100 or less.” This response rate (52.5 percent) was over three times as frequent as the next most popular answer, “$200 a month” Least popular among the answers was “$500 a month” which only represented only 4.8 percent of respondents.

When examining the responses of millennials between the ages of 18 and 34, HealthPocket found that 60.1 percent of that population indicated that $100 or less was the most they could afford with respect to monthly health insurance premiums. Separately, HealthPocket also noted that among women $100 or less was the answer 57.2 percent of the time, compared to 47.4 percent for men.

Double-Digit Rate Increases

The survey results come at a time when Affordable Care Act rates have risen by double digits in many regions. This increase in premium expense is experienced most acutely by Americans who buy private insurance without subsidies.

An open question is whether the next administration will make any progress on this front.

However, even people with premium subsidies can face substantial insurance-related costs if their incomes are above 250% of the Federal Poverty Level, disqualifying them from cost-sharing assistance. For example, in 2017 deductibles for entry-level bronze plans average $6,092 while deductibles for silver plans, the most popular of exchange plans, average $3,572. For family coverage, these averages increase to $12,393 and $7,474 respectively.

“This year’s survey results,” commented Kev Coleman, Head of Research & Data at HealthPocket, “continue to point for the need for a broadly available $100-a-month insurance option, particularly for Americans who do not benefit from tax subsidies. An open question is whether the next administration will make any progress on this front.”

Affordable Care Act Implications

The survey results represent a double edged sword for the Affordable Care Act. Among the consumers who receive health insurance subsidies, the typical after-subsidy premium fits comfortably within the budgets of most Americans. The administration has indicated that for those consumers buying health insurance on government exchanges, over 7 in 10 will pay less than $75 a month.1 For the millions of unsubsidized,2 Affordable Care Act premiums are starkly more expensive. For the purposes of reference, the below table illustrates a 30 year-old’s average premium for each metal level of Affordable Care Act plans nationwide.3

The full survey findings as well as the report methodology can be reviewed at “For More than Half of U.S., $100 or Less Remains the Maximum Most Americans Can Pay for Health Insurance Premiums.”
 is a free website that compares and ranks all health insurance plans, helping individuals, families, and small businesses to make their best health plan decisions. HealthPocket publishes health insurance market analyses and other consumer advocacy research. HealthPocket’s research is nonpartisan and uses only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. HealthPocket, Inc. is independently managed and based in Mountain View, California. Learn more here.
1 Robert Pear. “As Health Premiums Jump, Obama Wields an Imperfect Shield.” New York Times. (October 30, 2016). Last accessed November 4, 2016.
2 Kev Coleman. “Millions in Unsubsidized Health Insurance Market Face Uncertain 2017.” (March 17, 2016). Last accessed November 4, 2016.
3 Kev Coleman. “Aging Consumers without Subsidies Hit Hardest by 2017 Obamacare Premium & Deductible Spikes.” (October 26, 2016). Last accessed November 4, 2016.