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Monday, April 22, 2024

Increasing insurance premiums put low-income families at disadvantage

A recent UF study shows that increasing monthly premiums by ,5 caused many low-income families to drop out of Florida's State Health Insurance Program in 2003.

According to a UF press release, the program was originally created in 1997 for children of low-income families who could not qualify for Medicaid or private insurance.

Jill Boylston Herndon, a UF health economist and lead author of the study, said in a phone interview that the study showed even a small change in health-insurance policy could affect enrollment drastically.

After the premium increased from ,15 to ,20 a month, families of four with incomes of ,18,000 to ,27,000 were affected the most. The increase caused the average period of enrollment to decrease from 53 months to 21 months, according to the press release.

After a three-month period, the monthly premium was returned to ,15 for those in the lowest-income bracket for the program. Still, people continued to drop out of the program.

Herndon also said in the press release that other studies have shown once children leave health-insurance programs, they often remain uninsured.

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