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Millions of uninsured eligible for free premiums under Obamacare, study says

Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images

Millions of people qualify for free health insurance under Obamacare, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The study comes from the Kaiser Family Foundation, and presents the possibility that a financial assistance clause in the law could provide free coverage to more than 4 million people.

How does it work? According to the study, approximately 4.2 million uninsured people can get a "bronze" level Obamacare plan for $0 in premiums, because financial assistance in the healthcare law is high enough to cover the cost of that plan.

"We estimate that 27% of uninsured individuals who could shop on the Marketplace, or 4.2 million people nationwide, are eligible to purchase a bronze plan with $0 premiums after subsidies in 2019," the study reads.

Why is this an option? According to The Hill, the potential for free health insurance is actually an unintended by-product of President Trump's decision to end some Obamacare subsidies in 2017. The move raised premiums, which in turn raised financial assistance as is dictated in the law.

Are people taking advantage? Obamacare enrollment is down this year, by approximately 10 percent. The deadline to sign up for 2019 coverage is Dec. 15.

Former President Barack Obama sought to give the program a late boost with a public service announcement video.
According to The Hill, the Obamacare sign-up website received its highest traffic on the day Obama released the video telling people to sign up. Some customers were reportedly placed in online "waiting rooms" while the site coped with increased traffic.

"No jump shots. No ferns. No memes," Obama said in the video, referencing previous marketing efforts for the healthcare plan. "Not this time. I'm going to give it to you straight: If you need health insurance for 2019, the deadline to get covered is December 15. Go to HealthCare.gov today and pass this on—you just might save a life."

Is the coverage good? The low-level coverage is a high-deductible plan, so despite the money saved on premiums it might not be a good deal for people who can afford the higher levels of coverage.

(H/T The Hill)

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