The state’s new health insurance exchange gave an encouraging preview Thursday of the sweeping effects that the 2010 federal healthcare law will have on consumers next year, announcing lower-than-expected prices for individual policies.
Covered California, the state’s health benefit exchange, yesterday announced a rate structure for its health insurance plans that came in at a much more affordable price than first projected.
That was great news for exchange officials and it accounted for much of the pomp around that rare circumstance during yesterday’s announcement.
In the first disclosure of individual health insurance premiums by the nation’s largest state, California announced on Thursday a wide array of choices for the 5.3 million people expected to qualify to purchase coverage through its online marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act. The premiums, which aimed at a “just right” Goldilocks range, surprised many consumer advocates and analysts who had been anticipating much higher prices.
Obamacare got some very good news on Thursday. In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that a medium-level “silver” plan — which covers 70 percent of a beneficiary’s expected health costs — on the California health exchange would cost $5,200 annually. More recently, a report from the consulting firm Milliman predicted it would carry a $450 monthly premium. Yesterday, we got the real numbers. And they’re lower than anyone thought.
On Thursday, California launched a new health care exchange that will provide insurance for millions of people who currently have no coverage at all. It’s good news for the estimated six million people in California who have no insurance, because starting Oct. 1, they’ll be able to sign up for coverage, with 13 different health insurance plans — including Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente — all competing for business.
With Thursday’s news about which insurance plans will be available to individuals through Covered California, state residents are getting a clearer picture of the health plans and prices offered under the new health care rules in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
After weeks of negotiations, California said it has selected 13 health plans for a new state-run insurance marketplace where as many as 5 million people will shop for coverage next year. Officials at Covered California, the state agency implementing the federal Affordable Care Act, said Thursday that the winning bidders reflected a mix of large commercial insurers and smaller regional plans.
Some prominent health insurers, including industry giant UnitedHealth Group Inc., are not participating in California’s new state-run health insurance market, possibly limiting the number of choices for millions of consumers. UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest private insurer, Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. are sitting out the first year of Covered California, the state’s insurance exchange and a key testing ground nationally for a massive coverage expansion under the federal healthcare law.
As reports stream in about employers trying to decide whether they want to offer health insurance to workers once President Obama’s health-care overhaul takes effect, one survey that has flown under the radar indicates there may not be much to worry about.
Sometimes I use this space to answer questions from readers about how the Affordable Care Act will effect them. Sometimes, those answers lead to even more questions – we are, after all, talking about a major overhaul of our health-care system.
It’s been uttered by every opponent of health care reform: Obamacare will kill small businesses. But the new law’s rules don’t apply to the vast majority of small businesses. The employer mandate, which forces firms to start providing insurance in 2014, pertains only to companies with at least 50 full-time workers.
Market forces and an impetus to attract younger, healthier people into the insurance market will help keep health insurance premiums lower as the 2010 health care law takes effect on Jan. 1, industry analysts and insurance officials say.
May I make a humble suggestion? It’s based on a few of the inquiries I’ve received. If you’re uninsured, barely insured with a high-deductible health plan or operate a small business, it behooves you to get familiar with the Covered California website (coveredca.com) now.
Since being signed into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has already expanded access to high-quality, affordable health coverage for the millions of young adults who can now stay on their parent’s health insurance plans. And beginning in 2014, even more young adults will gain health care coverage through the law’s health insurance exchanges—private marketplaces where individuals can shop for health insurance—and the expansion of Medicaid.
Early filings show that insurers in some states are planning to lower their premiums after President Obama’s healthcare law takes effect, Democrats noted on Monday. Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee cited the initial rate filings to argue that the health law’s Republican critics have oversold the potential effect on premiums.
Predictions of massive “rate shock” as a result of President Obama’s healthcare law have been overblown, according to new analysis from the Center for American Progress (CAP). CAP, a liberal think tank, said higher costs will only affect about 3 percent of people between ages 19 and 29.