How Many Californians Depend On Cost-Sharing Subsidies?

About 670,000 Californians insured through Covered California are enrolled in CSR plans, which get federal payments to reduce consumers’ out-of-pocket costs.

The map below shows the geographic distribution by county. Late Thursday, President Donald Trump moved to end the subsidies, calling them illegal bailouts for insurance companies.

Data source: Covered California / Graphic created by California Health Care Foundation

Nationally, the move could cause upheaval in the health law’s marketplaces. Democrats are blasting the decision as “spiteful” — another way that the president is trying to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. But even before the president acted, California officials took steps this week to soften such a blow, by raising the cost of certain plans, and now they are helping to spearhead a legal challenge.

While the president’s action could cause some insurers to leave state marketplaces and ultimately push premiums up, most consumers will not feel a pinch to the wallet. That is because the federal government subsidizes the premiums of most ACA consumers. In fact, if Trump’s action stands, the blow is expected to fall most heavily on U.S. taxpayers overall, because the federal government would pay out more in premium  tax credits than it would have in cost-sharing subsidies.

California Healthline is an editorially independent publication of the California Health Care Foundation.