November 1st, 2017 BY HealthNetwork
In the Heart of Dixie, Americans face exorbitant taxes. Alabama is the only state to levy income tax against families earning just 25 percent of the poverty limit. After nearly a century of preference for the Democratic party, Alabamians have overwhelmingly chosen Republican state officials since the mid-1980s. This deep red state did not elect to expand Medicaid services and challenged the Affordable Care Act as it made its way through the Supreme Court.
Enrollment through the Years
Although residents of Alabama may enroll through the Obamacare federal marketplace, they only have one choice of plan carrier in 2017. This limited choice is slated to continue through 2018. Health insurance enrollment overall has increased since the first enrollment period. Here’s a breakdown over the last three seasons:
- 171,641 Alabamians enrolled in 2015
- 195,055 Alabamians enrolled in 2016
- 178,414 Alabamians enrolled in 2017
The above statistic from 2017 includes 56,997 new enrollees and 121,417 customers who re-enrolled in coverage from 2016. Since Alabama awarded its nine electoral college votes to the Republican candidate in 2016’s presidential race, many Alabamians unenrolled for 2017, possibly in anticipation of new healthcare options from the new party in power. Alabamian enrollees tend to be younger with most participants in the 18-34 demographic. Alabama is currently not working under an expanded Medicaid program model.
Enrollees who choose a marketplace plan and earn between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty limit are eligible for cost assistance. In 2017, 90 percent of marketplace enrollees received federal subsidies to assist with the cost of monthly premiums. Those who earn up to 250 percent of the federal poverty limit and choose a silver level plan are eligible for cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs. Such CSRs helped 73 percent of enrollees afford healthcare in 2017.
Carrier Participation & Plan Availability
Currently, 469 marketplace plans are available to Alabamian marketplace enrollees from a single health insurance carrier, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. This limited choice of carrier does not seem to be a major issue, as most insured Alabamians chose this carrier before Obamacare. This single carrier arrangement is slated to continue into 2018. Alabamians are urged to follow upcoming developments regarding their healthcare coverage at both the county and the state level closely.