AARP analysis estimates up to 171,000 Arkansans could benefit from new special enrollment period

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 560 views 

A new analysis from AARP’s Public Policy Institute finds that nearly half of older adults in the U.S. purchasing health insurance through the nongroup health insurance market faced unaffordable health coverage in 2019, compared to only 30% of younger adults.

As a result, many older adults remained uninsured, including 9% of all 50-64 year olds in Arkansas.

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly narrowed racial and ethnic coverage disparities in health coverage among 50-64 year olds, about 8.9% of African Americans and 21.1% of Hispanic/Latino Arkansans in that age range are uninsured, which is higher than the rate for non-Hispanic whites.

AARP’s analysis found that in 2019, a 64-year-old earning slightly above the threshold to be eligible for premium subsidies under the ACA faced an average premium that was nearly 30% of their income.

Two recent policy changes could help older adults who are currently uninsured purchase affordable coverage. A provision of the American Rescue Plan Act caps the amount an individual pays for health insurance in the marketplace at 8.5% of income for two years. This provision went into effect April 1, overlapping with a special enrollment period that allows people to purchase health insurance through the health insurance marketplace until August 15.

“While the Affordable Care Act has greatly reduced the number of older adults in Arkansas who are uninsured, coverage has remained unaffordable for far too many Arkansans aged 50-64, particularly those who are African American and Hispanic/Latino,” said Herb Sanderson, AARP Arkansas State Director. “We want to make sure that any uninsured older adults in Arkansas know that new subsidies are now available to them.”

Visit AARP.org/ACA for more information about how to get health insurance during this period. My Arkansas HelpLine is also available as a free service to connect individuals to insurance professionals. My Arkansas HelpLine is available at 1-844-355-3262, Monday – Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.