Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress released new estimates today calculating cost increases in 2026 for individuals currently covered through the health insurance marketplace, both nationally and for selected states, under the Senate Republican health care repeal bill, or Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA).
Yesterday’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report revealed that 22 million fewer Americans would have health coverage by 2026 under the BCRA, and that premiums would go up for many individual market enrollees. Those increases would be especially extreme for near-elderly and low-income enrollees, effectively imposing an age tax on older Americans. Insurers would be able to charge the near-elderly five times the premium of a young person, and the BCRA’s subsidies would decrease with age.
The true cost of health care is not just premiums but also out-of-pocket costs. CAP estimates that Maine enrollees aged 60 to 64 would pay $386 more in premiums, after taking into account tax credits, and $5,527 more in total costs in 2026. The average near-elderly Alaska enrollee would pay $1,970 more in net premiums and $5,700 more in total costs in 2026.
Nationally, the average enrollee aged 60 to 64 would see a net premium increase of $326 and a total cost increase of $5,618. For older enrollees aged 60 to 64 with middle incomes at 375 percent of the federal poverty level—who receive financial assistance now but would not under the BCRA—net premiums would increase by $10,253 and total costs would increase by $11,704.
“Nearly all Americans would be worse off under this catastrophic piece of legislation. Senate Republicans’ repeal bill would increase total health care costs for older Americans and those living in rural areas, effectively making coverage unaffordable for those who need it most,” said Topher Spiro, vice president of health policy at CAP. “Individuals aged 60 to 64 in Alaska at 375 percent of the poverty level would see enormous net premium increases of $47,834.”
The BCRA lowers plan values and financial assistance by implementing a smaller tax credit and eliminating cost-sharing subsidies by 2019. The loss of tax credit eligibility for middle-class Americans with incomes in the range of 350 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level would hit hardest in regions of the country with high premiums. In Alaska, for example, an individual with an income at 375 percent of the federal poverty level would pay $21,436 more for health care under the BCRA.
Click here to read “Senate Repeal Bill Will Increase Average Costs for Exchange Enrollees by $2,294” by Topher Spiro, Emily Gee, and Thomas Huelskoetter.