ObamaCare: federal government finally reveals premium rates, but not much else

October 3 2013

After months of requests, the public finally has a bit more information about what health insurance is going to cost under ObamaCare. And it is easy to see why federal and state officials dragged their feet in disclosing this information.

For weeks, officials have been bandying a premium rate of $125 per month for a nonsmoking 27-year-old man in Chicago. What they weren’t telling you is that:

  • This is the lowest available premium for the lowest-cost “Bronze” plan option, which is lowest level of coverage offered on the ObamaCare health insurance exchange. This range of plans is likely to have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses – up to $6,350 per year – than the higher-level plans.
  • The monthly premium rates for the lowest-level coverage option start at $125 per month but go up to $278 per month.
  • Premium rates in the exchange range from a low of $125 for Bronze coverage for this young man to a high of $375 per month for “Platinum” coverage, which will likely have lower deductibles and out-of-pockets expenses than the lower-level plans.

In the private market today, however, that same young man can already purchase coverage similar to the lowest-cost Bronze plan for just $77 per month.

Since government officials have still not disclosed plan details, such as deductible levels, co-pays and provider networks, it is still not possible to see exactly what these plans cover. Furthermore, there is wide speculation that the plans offered under the exchange have “narrow networks” of providers, meaning the number of participating hospitals and doctors is low. Similar to Illinois’ Medicaid system, in which many doctors have dropped out of the program, patients with ObamaCare coverage could be subjected to long waiting times to obtain an appointment and schedule needed treatments.

It is time for government officials to stop hiding behind glitzy media ads and press conferences and show taxpayers the plans.

TAGS: Affordable Care Act, insurance rates, Obamacare, obamacare exchange