Rural-Urban Differences In Individual-Market Health Plan Affordability After Subsidy Payment Cuts.
This article investigates changes in the affordability of individual health plans (Marketplace plans) that were compliant with the Affordable Care Act following the termination of cost-sharing reduction subsidy payments in 2017. We examined how states' and insurers' responses to these cuts affected enrollees differently depending on whether they lived in rural or urban geographic areas and were or were not eligible for Advance Premium Tax Credits. Using data for 2014-19 from the Health Insurance Exchange Compare database and other sources, we found that subsidy-eligible enrollees in rural markets gained access to Marketplace plans that were more affordable than those available to their urban counterparts, after the cuts affected premiums in 2018. Average minimum net monthly premiums for subsidized enrollees in majority-rural geographic rating areas decreased from $288 in 2017 to $162 in 2019, while those of their urban counterparts decreased from $275 to $180. In contrast, rural enrollees without subsidies faced the least affordable premiums for Marketplace plans.
Anderson, D; Abraham, JM; Drake, C
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