What You Need To Know About Obamacare Premiums

By  //  August 6, 2013

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A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yesterday I reported on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s projections for the state’s 2014 individual insurance premiums offered through the federally-run exchange under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, aka Obamacare). For a variety of reasons there is a wide variation across the country on these projections from state to state, creating consumer confusion and uncertainty.

The recently published article on Kaiser Health News excerpted below explains some of the issues related to the variations among states and provides five key considerations to evaluate information about the cost of coverage when the PPACA marketplaces open for enrollment in October.

KAISERHEALTHNEWS.ORG — Premiums will skyrocket next year!  Premiums will be lower than expected!  Premiums will be about the same!

Consumers are understandably confused after weeks of conflicting pronouncements about the expected cost of plans, for individuals and small groups, to be sold in new online insurance marketplaces under the federal health law beginning Oct. 1.

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Consumers are understandably perplexed after weeks of conflicting pronouncements about the expected cost of plans, for individuals and small groups, to be sold in new online insurance marketplaces under Obamacare beginning Oct. 1.

New York regulators said average premiums on those plans will be half of what they cost now, while Indiana warned of an average 72 percent increase.  Florida’s insurance officials projected 30 to 40 rate increases, while the White House trumpeted a report saying that rates in 10 states and the District of Columbia will average 18 percent less than forecast.

How is a consumer to make sense of this?  For starters, state rates vary considerably because state regulations differ, although that is expected to lessen under the health law.  But a bigger factor is that state officials who have opposed the health law are inclined to compare measures that show a big increase, while those in favor are inclined to do the opposite.

“Premiums across states vary a whole lot less than the spin does,” said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy research organization. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

Most policy analysts concur that average premiums will go up for younger, healthier people – and that they will get better benefits than they do now – but that rates may fall for older or sicker Americans, as new rules go into effect Jan. 1.   Increases may be offset for many of those buying coverage through tax credits available to people with low and moderate incomes.

CLICK HERE to read the complete story on KaiserHealthNews.org.


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