State policymakers can lower health insurance costs and increase coverage rates by establishing a state-run reinsurance program and providing state subsidies for low- and moderate-income households, according to a new report from LBP policy director Stacey Roussel. These policy changes would help both low- and moderate-income Louisianans and help those that aren’t covered through Medicaid expansion.

“Despite Medicaid expansion, there are still 363,000 Louisianans who don’t have insurance,” Roussel said. “People earning low incomes, but who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, are three times more likely to be uninsured than their more affluent neighbors. These people need help too.”

Those who earn just over the qualifying threshold, or $1 over 400% of poverty, for federal subsidies in the individual marketplace will pay 53% more than a family earning just under the threshold. This creates a benefit cliff that puts coverage out of reach for too many families.

Extending premium tax credits would help smooth out the benefit cliff for families that don’t qualify for subsidized health insurance, while a reinsurance program decreases premiums – nearly 20% on average – regardless of incomes, with savings to consumers ranging from 6% to 43% depending on the size of the program.

“These two policies can help ensure all Louisianans can go to the doctor when they get sick or take care of a family member when they have a medical emergency without accumulating crippling debt from uninsured medical care, and take care of themselves with regular preventative care visits” Roussel said.