Rep. Phil Gingrey today introduced the bipartisan LIBERTY Act (Letting Insurance Benefit Everyone Regardless of Their Youth), H.R. 544. This legislation prevents an increase in young people’s health care premiums due to a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Beginning next year, the law’s age discount restriction could force a dramatic spike in young Americans’ health care costs overnight.
“The reality of this Obamacare provision is that young adults will be forced to subsidize health care costs for older, financially stable, working-age Americans,” Gingrey said. “At a time when 20-somethings face underemployment, record school debt, and less economic opportunity, it is unfair to saddle them with this burden.”
Under PPACA, insurance providers must restrict the difference in premiums due to age to 3:1. In reality, the cost disparity between a 26-year-old and 64-year-old is far greater, approaching or exceeding 5:1. To make up the difference, the costs will be passed on to young people in the form of higher premiums, with some increases as high as 40 percent.
The LIBERTY Act allows states to determine the age discount in their insurance market. Should a state fail to act, the legislation establishes a rating which better reflects the correlation between age and health care costs.