There’s a lot in the news lately about health care reform, but it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of real information about what Obamacare will mean for the consumer. The bottom line for folks who will be participating in the health insurance marketplaces is: how much is this going to cost me, and what do I get for what I pay?
(Photo Credit: Images_of_Money/Flickr)
The second half of that question, unfortunately, will have to wait a bit longer, but here’s what we know so far:
- Residents of some states will be able to buy insurance through their state marketplaces, while others will go through HealthCare.gov. (Find out here where you’ll apply.)
- Coverage will be grouped into tiers ranging from platinum to bronze, with platinum representing the highest monthly cost and lowest deductibles and other out-of-pocket contributions when patients receive medical care, and bronze representing the lowest monthly cost and the highest potential out-of-pocket contributions. There will also be catastrophic coverage available to people under 30 or with low incomes.
- Starting in 2014, all pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy, must be covered by health insurers. So if you’ve been unable to get coverage through an existing health insurance policy for your condition, you should be able to do so, starting January 1, 2014.
- Some critics think that lower health insurance costs under Obamacare will mean fewer choices in terms of providers, including doctors and hospitals, but we’ll have to wait and see.
And now for the biggie: How much will this cost?
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has created a calculator that will show you the monthly costs associated with a given level of coverage, according to your income, whether or not employer coverage is available, and how many people are in your family.
Plug in your information, and you can see how much your health insurance will cost you for 2014, plus whether or not you’ll receive a tax credit subsidy to offset your payments.
As an example, we selected the following (totally made-up) criteria:
State: New York
Enter income as: 2014 Dollars
Enter annual income: $45,000
Is employer coverage available? No
Number of people in family: 1
Number of adults (21 and older) enrolling in exchange coverage: 1
Uses tobacco: No. (See CMS.gov for information on tobacco surcharges. Not all states permit them. If yours doesn’t, you select “No.”)
Number of children (20 and younger) enrolling in exchange coverage: 0
Our imaginary New Yorker would pay $2756 per year (or around $230 a month) for silver plan coverage. Because of his income, which is 392 percent of poverty level, he wouldn’t be eligible for a tax credit.
Obviously, costs will vary widely, depending on how many people you’re buying coverage for, how much you make, and where you live. But this calculator should at least give you some idea of what you can expect to pay.
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