health reform
2:51 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Most young adults won't pay more for coverage under Obamacare

If the price tag for health insurance goes up under Obamacare, it’s likely to hit some policy holders in their 20s, economists have warned. Now that the first round of numbers are available in Washington state, we can see whether that’s the case.

If the price tag for health insurance goes up under Obamacare, it’s likely to hit some policy holders in their 20s, economists have warned. Now that the first round of numbers is available in Washington state, we can see whether that’s the case.

The short answer is: yes, rates will go up for many young adults. But the more nuanced answer says it depends on how much they earn; the majority of young adults are unlikely to pay full price thanks to a federal subsidy.

And if the young adult has a very cheap policy today, he or she will probably get better benefits starting next year.

Young adults can currently buy cheap policies because they are at low risk of getting costly diseases. Under Obamacare, they get lumped in with everyone else in a much larger pool. That’s why economists have been warning they will likely pay more while older people in their 50s will likely pay less.

Given the rate filings released this week by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, we can compare what a 25-year-old non-smoker might face.

The chart above depicts what’s likely to happen to the prices of the three cheapest plans offered by Lifewise, which sells the most popular individual plans in the state. Even though the base prices of those plans will go up under Obamacare, the monthly subsidy will offset the price hike for most young adults.