Health Care

161K in Ohio Could Lose Health Insurance Subsidies

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WASHINGTON – About 161,000 people in Ohio’s 16 congressional districts, including 19,000 in the two districts that cover the Mahoning Valley, are at risk of losing health insurance premium subsidies in Ohio depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in the pending King v. Burwell case.

Nationwide 6.4 million Americans are at risk of losing tax credits, according to Families USA, an advocacy group that released its estimates Tuesday.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling this month on whether premium subsidies should be withdrawn where the federal government is running insurance marketplaces in lieu of the states. Ohio is one of 34 states with  federally run marketplaces, created under the Affordable Care Act.

“We put this map together to show the very real pain that will be inflicted on huge numbers of families in Ohio if the subsidies are struck down by the Supreme Court,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.

In Ohio’s 6th congressional district, which covers southern Mahoning County and Columbiana County, 8,000 people are at risk of losing the subsidies. In the 13th district, 11,000 residents are at risk. The 6th district is represented by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, a Republican, and the 13th by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat.

In districts 1 and 2, which takes in Cincinnati and its suburbs, along with Portsmouth, 22,000 may lose subsidies. In the three districts that take in Columbus, Mansfield and Lancaster (districts 3, 12 and 15), 30,000 people would lose subsidies. In districts 11 and 13, which take in Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown, 21,000 may lose subsidies.

In Ohio, the average monthly premium for an individual with subsidized insurance is $145, compared to $389 without a subsidy, according to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Loss of subsidies could be the beginning of an insurance “death spiral,” Pollack said. “The people most likely to pay the much more expensive unsubsidized premiums would be the people who most need it due to illness – and that would cause premiums to skyrocket.”

SOURCE: Families USA

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.