The federal government is willing to shoulder a share of the medical costs with millions of people, but many of them are still saying, "Thanks, but no thanks."
A new analysis reveals that nearly 14 million people next year could get financial help to pay out-of-pocket costs if they enroll in Obamacare health plans, a new analysis finds.
That federal aid, known as cost-sharing reductions, can reduce the amount people pay in deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and maximum out-of-pocket costs that they incur when they go to the doctor or hospital. Those costs are the share of services not covered by a person's health plan.
But large numbers of the relatively low-income people—nearly half of whom live in the South—who are eligible for that aid are not taking advantage of it, even though it could save them an average of $479 in health costs annually.
"Enrollment is ramping up more slowly than originally expected," noted Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation health policy research group.
The new analysis issued by the Urban Institute sheds light on who the potential beneficiaries of that aid are, and underscores how much they could save.
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The report also notes that cost-sharing reductions "can play an important role in creating effective access to medical care for those with low income."
"There is plenty of concern about the impact of high-deductible plans on peoples' ability to pay for care," said Kathy Hempstead, who directs coverage issues at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the report.
"It's important to remember that more than half of those eligible for marketplace plans with tax credits are also eligible for cost-sharing reductions, which make a huge difference in the burden of out-of-pocket costs on those with modest incomes."
The report comes at the tail-end of Obamacare's second open enrollment season.
The federal government, despite issuing a slew of other enrollment-related data, has not released information about how many customers of Obamacare exchanges in 2014 received cost-sharing reductions, or how many enrollees in plan year 2015 qualified for them.