How the ACA's Health Insurance Expansions Have Affected Out-of-Pocket Cost-Sharing and Spending on Premiums

Sherry Glied, Claudia Solís-Román, Shivani Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One important benefit gained by the millions of Americans with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is protection from high out-of-pocket health spending. While Medicaid unambiguously reduces out-of-pocket premium and medical costs for low-income people, it is less certain that marketplace coverage and other types of insurance purchased to comply with the law's individual mandate also protect from high health spending. Goal: To compare out-of-pocket spending in 2014 to spending in 2013; assess how this spending changed in states where many people enrolled in the marketplaces relative to states where few people enrolled; and project the decline in the percentage of people paying high amounts out-of-pocket. Methods: Linear regression models were used to estimate whether people under age 65 spent above certain thresholds. Key findings and conclusions: The probability of incurring high out-of-pocket costs and premium expenses declined as marketplace enrollment increased. The percentage reductions were greatest among those with incomes between 250 percent and 399 percent of poverty, those who were eligible for premium subsidies, and those who previously were uninsured or had very limited nongroup coverage. These effects appear largely attributable to marketplace enrollment rather than to other ACA provisions or to economic trends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalIssue brief (Commonwealth Fund)
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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