Reaching the Five Percent: A Profile of Western and Central New Yorkers Without Health Coverage provided a detailed analysis of the uninsured in western and central New York, finding that tens of thousands of people were eligible for public programs like Medicaid, the Essential Plan or Child Health Plus, or tax credits to make coverage more affordable. In discussion groups conducted as part of the research, about 40 residents candidly discussed barriers to coverage, including affordability (particularly for those earning between 200% and 400% of the federal poverty level); the perceived value of coverage, given the high out-of-pocket costs in many products; and the difficulty of navigating the health care system without some help.
But many participants also cited another barrier—the stigma associated with enrolling in public programs or accepting financial help. This issue brief seeks to cast the decision to accept financial help for coverage in a new light by examining a large and often overlooked federal and state subsidy for coverage: the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance.
Date Published: September 27, 2019