Healthcare subsidy cuts could hit some Georgians hard

- President Trump has been threatening to cut Obamacare subsidies for months, calling them a "bailout."
Many insurance providers have been planning and adjusting their premiums for 2018 in advance of the subsidy cuts.

But, Georgia consumers insured through the individual market could get another case of sticker-shock.

Ken Thorpe, professor, and Chair of the Department of Health Policy Management at Emory's University's Rollins School of Public Health says Georgians could be paying 23 percent more for their coverage come January of 2018. Today's move, Thorpe says, will hit lower and middle income families especially hard.

"I think you're going to see 2 things happen," Thorpe says. "One, is your going to see an increase in the number of people who don't have health insurance, as a result of these provisions," he adds  "But, secondly, what's concerning, are the type of people that are going to drop coverage are likely those that are slightly healthier, perhaps younger."

That, Thorpe says, could drive up costs for people with chronic health conditions, who need health insurance the most. The federal subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act were used to reimbursed insurance companies for providing a discount to lower-income income Americans to help cover part of their insurance deductibles and co-pays.

"For very low income families, a family of 4 earning under $25,000, it eliminates about $3,100 a year in deductibles," Thorpe says.  "It reduces your cost-sharing by about $5,500.  So the financial income particularly in low income families will be substantial."

Now, the pressure is on Congress, to do something to stabilize the insurance market, and bring down premiums, for both providers and consumers, struggling to keep their coverage.

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