Health Coverage under Obamacare May Prove Costly to Individual Buyers

With the introduction of new healthcare reforms enacted by the Affordable Care Act, many Americans covered by health insurance in the individual marketplace will be forced to enroll in new coverage plans. People will be required to opt for new insurance since many of these plans are not in accordance with newly established standards set by the new healthcare law. As a result, many insurers will be forced to either tack on benefits, or cancel policies altogether.

The new offerings are associated with higher rates for individual buyers, since coverage is more comprehensive and must be available to individuals affected by pre-existing conditions. Nevertheless, several insurers have managed to maintain lower rates by providing plans with higher deductibles and minimal benefits. Additionally, these insurers could be pickier in the approval process by only selecting the healthiest applicants.

As more and more people have been receiving policy cancellation notices paired with new offerings provided by their insurer for 2014, the sticker shock has brought on increased feelings of aggravation among those impacted. Many are unhappy with the options offered in the  marketplace. Some face climbing premiums and costly increases in deductibles. Some report their current deductibles of $1,500 are expected to rise to $5,000 under Obamacare for similar policies.  It isn’t just deductibles, visits to the doctor and prescriptions are also subject to increase.

Nevertheless, a small number of existing plans will become grandfathered. In order to obtain this status, two qualifying factors must be met. First, members must have been enrolled in these policies before the passage of the ACA back in March 2010. Additionally, no significant policy changes should have been made to the plans until now, ranging from alterations in co-pays and deductibles to coverage costs.

Currently, Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the major healthcare providers within the individual insurance marketplace, as well as the exchanges. Kim Holland, the trade group’s executive director of state affairs, said that the majority of existing individual plans offered by Blue Cross will soon be altered or discontinued. As a result, some customers will be forced to enroll in new coverage plans.

Although customers may receive letters indicating significant increases in premiums, they won’t exactly know what to expect in regards to payments until they actually explore the exchange. Generally, if an individual brings in less than $46,000 a year or $94,200 for a family of four, federal subsidies will be available to decrease monthly expenses.

Obamacare: Coverage Costs Widely Vary by State

How much will individuals pay for health insurance through Obamacare? Although Obamacare is a nationwide healthcare initiative, the coverage costs will vary depending on each state.

According to data recently released by the Department of Health and Human Services, Americans under the age of 65 who purchase coverage through the new healthcare act will end up paying the highest rates in Wyoming, while those who opt into the program in Minnesota will end up spending the least. Meanwhile, the states of Kentucky and Massachusetts have not yet released their coverage rates.

When it comes to unsubsidized costs, Minnesota comes in with the lowest rates, and is the sole state offering middle-tier “silver” plans for less than $200 a month. Furthermore, the lowest tier of ACA coverage, also called the “bronze” plan, calls for average monthly premiums of $144. In comparison, the state of Wyoming offers the bronze plan at an average of $425, while its silver plans begin at $489.

Meanwhile, in all other states across the U.S., bronze plans are offered at an average of $249, while silver plans begin at $310. Aside from the fact that silver plans, on average, are priced at 16 percent less than the projected $392 per month, government officials report that 56 percent of uninsured participants will be able to pay $100 or less each month. Nevertheless, the monthly cost exceeds the prior projected price tag of $392 in seven states.

Another influential factor for determining coverage rates under Obamacare is age. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that the average cost for younger Americans will likely be lower than what older people will be required to pay. As a general rule of thumb, states with more competing insurers will be charged lower rates than those states with fewer participating insurers.

With the help of an online subsidy calculator, individuals can get a better idea as to how much they can afford to spend on health insurance. By inputting various factors such as income level, age, and family size, an estimate will be calculated to help determine an individual’s eligibility for subsidies.