Despite being designed to help the poor, certain aspects of Obamacare are holding millions of individuals back who fall into what is being called the “coverage gap.”
Reverend Vann R. Ellison, the president of the Florida based St. Matthew’s House, is trying to bring attention to the issue which he says affects people who fall between the $10,000 and $12,000 a year income range. St. Matthew’s House, which takes care of roughly 1,500 people, provides food and shelter to those individuals trying to work their way out of poverty.
“We generally deal with lower-income people trying to get their lives together,” Ellison told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “These are people who can’t afford their own apartments.”
Those in that income range make too much to qualify for assistance under Obamacare but oftentimes make too little to actually afford coverage or the fee that comes with not being covered. It’s an issue that impacts many of the lower-income people Ellison is trying to help.
“I care about these people; I don’t think these people should have to pay a fine,” Ellison continued. “It’s an unintended consequence of a law that was pushed out before it was thought through.”
According to Ellison, the $95 fee is a huge hardship on these individuals. The people he takes care of often can’t afford their own apartments and food, let alone coverage or the fee. In the meantime Ellison is trying to help his residents the best he can and is relying on his community to do the same.
“We’re informing our local doctors,” Ellison noted. “We’re making sure the medical needs of our people are met.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), about 4 million people fall into the coverage gap. As its report notes, the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare was supposed to address the problem but some states, including Florida, decided not to enact the expansion because it would owe untold billions of dollars to the federal government after 2017.
“It is unlikely that people who fall into the coverage gap will be able to afford ACA coverage without financial assistance,” KFF detailed in its report. “In 2015, the national average premium for a 40-year-old individual purchasing coverage through the Marketplace was $276 per month for a silver plan and $213 per month for a bronze plan.”