Young Adults Can Face 41% Narrower Income Range for Obamacare Subsidies

HealthPocket examined health plan premium subsidies for 18 to 34 year-olds in eight major cities across the country and found this age group could not obtain subsidies for health plans within the complete income range specified by the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act subsidies are designed to lower premiums for people with incomes between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. However, for the eight cities studied, the average maximum income at which young adults qualified for a premium subsidy was $31,744, which is less than 277% of the Federal Poverty Level. This “Obamacare subsidy gap” occurs because the exchange benchmark premiums of younger people can fall short of the percentage of income necessary to trigger a subsidy.

Moreover, HealthPocket found that the maximum income that qualified for a premium subsidy varied by $7,709 among the 8 cities examined. The table below ranks the cities by the highest income where 18 to 34 year-olds were eligible for a subsidy.

Rank City
1 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ($36,013)
2 Miami, Florida ($33,323)
3 Los Angeles, California ($32,858)
4 Atlanta, Georgia ($32,085)
5 Houston, Texas ($31,732)
6 Detroit, Michigan ($30,266)
7 Chicago, Illinois ($29,374)
8 Phoenix, Arizona ($28,304)

HealthPocket’s analysis suggests that the premium subsidy design may be an important factor contributing to the under-enrollment of the young adult population, a population targeted for enrollment both for their typically good health as well as their propensity to be uninsured.

The full results of the study, “18-34 Year-Olds Can Face 41% Narrower Income Bracket to Qualify for Obamacare Subsidies,” can be found at is a free website that compares and ranks all health insurance plans available to an individual, family, or small business to allow consumers to make their best health plan decision and reduce their out of pocket costs. HealthPocket uses only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. Learn more at

SOURCE HealthPocket