Today the Department of Health and Human Services released an initial look at the health insurance premiums that states would be seeing as soon as next week. After months of stonewalling by the Walker Administration to release this information the federal government has finally released this vital data. This data is not based on projections or estimates, but on the actual rates that insurance companies have submitted from these states. And their overall findings?
- Premiums before tax credits will be more than 16 percent lower than projected - The weighted average second lowest cost silver plan for 48 states (including DC) is 16 percent below projections based on the ASPE-derived Congressional Budget Office premiums. In 15 states, the second lowest cost silver plan will be less than $300 per month – a savings of $1,100 a year per enrollee compared to expectations. Overall, 95% of the uninsured potentially eligible for the Marketplaces live in states with average premiums below ASPE-derived CBO projected premiums
- Young adults will pay lower premiums and also have the option of a catastrophic plan that covers prevention, some primary care, and high costs in cases of major accident or illness
Overall for Wisconsin here's what the data shows
- Wisconsin will have 97 qualified health plans to choose from (companies offer multiple plans, does not include catastrophic plans)
- When they averaged the costs, the lowest cost Bronze plan is about $287/month before tax credits are factored in
- The data also lists the average cost of Silver plans: with the lowest cost Silver plan costing $344/month and the second lowest cost plan costing $361/month. All before tax credits are factored in! Because the tax credits are based on the cost of Silver plans, individuals will have a number of options that are affordable no matter what.
But factoring in tax credits are an important part of determining the cost that people will actually be paying. Many people will not actually be seeing these numbers on their bill. So the report breaks it down:
For a 27 year old with an income of $25,000 she/he would pay:
- Second lowest cost Silver plan before tax credit: $238
- Second lowest cost Silver plan after tax credit: $145
- Lowest cost Bronze plan after tax credit: $96
For a Family of 4 with 2 adults (one 40yrs another 38yrs) and 2 children under 18 with an income of $50,000
- Second lowest cost Silver plan before tax credit: $861
- Second lowest cost Silver plan after tax credit: $282
- Lowest cost Bronze plan after tax credit: $106
Compared to others states Wisconsin is above the average for cost. There has been plenty of literature over the years on how Wisconsin is a higher priced state for healthcare and their are plenty of reasons for why this is still the case. There are also state-based reasons for why this would be higher post-reform beyond just the cost of healthcare, including if the state actively negotiated the rates lower, if they use their power of rate review and if they accepted federal Medicaid funds.
When full data sets come out we can do further analysis. It is good news to know that as the rates are coming out, individuals across the state no matter what their family size or income will have some form of affordable health insurance to choose from.
The most important thing to remember to is that, these new post-ACA plans are not Apples-to-Apples comparisons with plans from even a year ago. All these new plans...
- Can never deny you coverage, drop you from coverage, or charge you more because of pre-existing conditions or any other form of discrimination
- Can never charge woman more than men
- Are now limited on how much they can charge older consumers than young
- Cannot have excessive deductibles or spend too much of your money on non-healthcare costs
- Are required to cover a wide range of procedures and in the case of preventive care must do so with no out-of-pocet costs!
These new plans will be there for you when you need it and can never be taken away from you. This is what insurance is supposed to be, something that you can count on to protect you.
-Kevin Kane, Healthcare Organizer