Fox Baselessly Stokes Fears On Costs Of Obamacare For Young Adults

Fox News hyped a misleading Wall Street Journal article that claimed young adults will face higher insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without disclosing that only a small portion of the health care market would be affected

A September 25 article in The Wall Street Journal claimed that “for some buyers, prices will rise from today's less-comprehensive policies,” and went on to say that “For consumers used to skimpier plans--or young, healthy people who previously enjoyed attractive rates--that could mean significantly higher premiums.” Fox News host Neil Cavuto hyped the article during an appearance on America's Newsroom, claiming, “premiums are going up, they're going up markedly...for young people in particular, the means by which we pay for all of this, their premiums are going up smartly”:

Both the Journal and Fox's segment ignored that the potential premium increase is for a very small subset of the insurance market. The Center for American Progress estimated that “only about 3 percent” of young adults have the potential to see premium increases, which makes up about half of one percent of all Americans:

Critics of the law ignore these facts and instead argue that the Affordable Care Act will increase health insurance premiums for young adults, especially in the nongroup, or individual, market. But our conservative estimates show that among all young adults, only about 3 percent of them might actually see a premium increase in the nongroup market--that is just 0.5 percent of all Americans.

This group consists of healthy young adults who have nongroup health coverage and whose incomes are too high to qualify for federal assistance that will offset any increase in premiums. But even these individuals will benefit from the law because with increased premiums come far greater benefits and security. Under the Affordable Care Act, health care plans will include benefits such as prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental-health care, which most nongroup plans exclude today. And this improved coverage will remain in place even as people age or become sick or injured.

In addition, a recent survey of 36 states by the Department of Health and Human Services found that about 60% of consumers purchasing insurance through state exchanges could pay less than $100 per month in premiums:

Most Americans buying insurance from new state health exchanges will have at least two insurers to choose from, and six out of 10 people could pay less than $100 a month in premiums, a report to be released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services shows.

The report analyzed insurance plans and premiums in 36 states where the federal government will either run or help run the exchanges, which are websites where state residents can shop for and buy health insurance starting Oct. 1.

In those 36 states, 95% of people will have two or more plans to choose from, while the average premium for all states and all ages will be $328, according to HHS. However, anyone who makes less than 400% of the federal poverty level, or about $94,000 for a family of four, will be eligible for a federal tax subsidy that will immediately be deducted from the cost of the insurance policy.