Health insurance coverage for seniors in the city of New York could increase in the coming years if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, according to a report by the insurance industry.
The report, by the healthcare insurance industry group Avalere Health, said the number of insurers offering health insurance to seniors could reach nearly 2.3 million in the state by 2022, the year that is set to be the end of the Affordable Cuts and Jobs Act, or ACA, under which insurance companies in New York are required to cover most Americans.
The industry report, released Wednesday, is the latest piece of evidence that the ACA could lead to higher premiums and lower quality of care for older New Yorkers, who are at the greatest risk of health care coverage cuts and lost work.
“There is a good chance the ACA will be repealed in its entirety,” said Paul J. Bergstrom, president of Avalere.
“What it shows is that the individual market will be under tremendous pressure, particularly in rural areas, where insurers are already struggling to compete with smaller companies.”
Bergstrom’s firm, which includes several of the nation’s biggest insurers, including UnitedHealth Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna, said a number of factors are driving down the number and quality of insurance plans available in New Yorkers.
Those factors include a decrease in coverage by younger adults, increased demand for insurance and an increase in older people seeking care.
A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis shows that between 2017 and 2022, insurance premiums for older people in the U.S. would increase at the fastest rate in two decades, the largest decline in almost a decade.
That could leave older New Yorkans paying twice as much as the average person, according the report.
“We’re not seeing a lot of change in the overall number of older Americans receiving health insurance, but there is a big decline in the number in the older population,” said Sarah Tashkin, senior vice president of research at Avalere, which represents more than 2,700 health insurance plans.
Avalere’s study shows that by 2022 the number with insurance coverage in New Jersey would be nearly 6.5 million.
In New York City, it would be 4.5 to 5.2 million.
The group predicts that the number for older adults would be 8.6 million, with a projected growth rate of nearly 50 percent in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
By 2026, the number would be 9.3 to 11.2 percent of the population.
The Avalere study, which was based on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, also found that by 2026 there would be an increase of about 3 million people with incomes between 200 percent and 300 percent of poverty.
By 2024, it will likely be more like 5.4 million.
That means New York will likely see a large number of seniors who will be unable to find coverage for the full cost of care in the future, the report said.
New York’s plan will not change the coverage arrangements of the city’s elderly population, said Bergstrom.
“They are still covered under the ACA,” he said.
But the report cautions that the insurance market will become more competitive in the near term.
“The ACA is already being challenged in some areas and has not gone away.
The ACA is not going away,” Bergstrom said.
“It will be replaced.”
The report also says that if the ACA is repealed and the federal government tries to pass a new health care law, it could increase the number, quality and cost of health insurance for older Americans.
It could also result in more people getting coverage for less money.
The ACA mandates that all Americans have health insurance.
But many state and local governments, which control the insurance companies, have refused to set up their own health insurance marketplaces, which have limited competition.
Some cities have already begun the process of expanding their own markets, and many have already eliminated local-only insurance plans and imposed limits on how much people can pay out of pocket.
The New York study found that while insurers in the ACA marketplaces will likely face higher out-of-pocket costs, the total cost of covering the population would remain the same.
That means the overall cost of coverage would be about $1,700 higher for the average enrollee than it would have been in a market that didn’t exist, Bergstrom estimated.
The Kaiser report found that if health insurance costs continue to rise and there are fewer insurers in a given area, the ACA would have no impact on the cost of insurance.
For example, in the New York area, insurance companies would still offer a full range of plans, including plans with high out-to-pocket limits.
That could make it easier for people to find affordable insurance coverage if the rate of increase is much lower, Bergson said.
“If the ACA stays in place, then people will be able to buy coverage and stay covered and not be forced to go out and pay more for their care,” he added.