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How Much Will Obamacare Cost?

Thursday June 13th, 2013   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:13am PDT   •  

We now have more information about how affordable health insurance will be once Obamacare rolls out. CNN reports on the costs of the “Silver” middle-tier coverage plan that will be available in California in 2014:

States are starting to roll out details about the exchanges, providing a look at just how affordable coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be. Some potential participants may be surprised at the figures: $2,000 deductibles, $45 primary care visit co-pays, and $250 emergency room tabs.

Those are just some of the charges enrollees will incur in a silver-level plan in California, which recently unveiled an overview of the benefits and charges associated with its exchange. That’s on top of the $321 average monthly premium.

For some, this will be great news since it will allow them to see the doctor without breaking the bank. But others may not want to shell out a few thousand bucks in addition to a monthly premium.

“The hardest question is will it be a good deal and will consumers be able to afford it,” said Marian Mulkey, director of the health reform initiative at the California Healthcare Foundation. “The jury is still out. It depends on their circumstances.”

CNN also provided the following infographic to illustrate the plan’s costs for individuals:


Doing some quick math, California’s Silver Obamacare plan will cost $3,852 annually, which is how much an individual would have to pay for the coverage, even if they never seek medical care. The annual bill only rises above that amount once they do seek medical care.

That’s also the cost that applies for individuals who have annual incomes over $45,960 (four times the federal poverty level). Individuals with incomes below that level will have a portion of their monthly premiums subsidized by the federal government.

Of course, the alternative for not getting health insurance coverage would be to pay Obamacare’s penalty tax. In 2014, an uninsured individual would have to pay $95.

Keep in mind that thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition requirement, a healthy individual would be able to obtain health insurance coverage after at most a 90-day waiting period (prior to the Obamacare law, the waiting period could be much longer than that). That sets up a really perverse incentive for healthy individuals to drop their health insurance coverage under the law.

Which alternative do you suppose is really more affordable?

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June 2013