Potentially Affordable Care Act

September 26, 2013

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Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services released its report on the prices Americans will pay if they enroll in the new Obamacare health care exchanges. The average premium for a mid-tier plan in these markets for the uninsured, Reuters writes, will be $328 a month. Nationwide, HHS says, premiums will be 16% lower than previously projected.

Sarah Kliff and Kaiser’s Phil Galewitz answer 42 questions on the new exchanges, and HuffPost has a handy map. If you happen to lose your job, you’re immediately eligible for the new exchanges.

One key will be to get younger, healthier Americans to sign up for the health exchanges. The Obama administration is counting on 2.7 million young enrollees to offset the cost of sicker members. Jonathan Cohn notes that the cheapest Obamacare plan will cost $100 a month, while the fine for not carrying insurance will initially be a fraction of that. Still, he offers six reasons why young folk will sign up, including recent survey results that suggest most young people want to be insured.

The higher premiums for healthier members of the population are being referred to as “premium shock”. Premiums, however, will be subsidized based on your income, which “makes it well-nigh impossible to make general statements, based on averages, about the net after-subsidy impact of the law”, writes Uwe Reinhardt. (The Kaiser Family foundation will calculate your subsidy if you enter eight different data points about your situation).

Whether you buy a high-deductible or a high-premium plan through the health exchanges, there’s a broad trend in all our favor: medical price inflation is at the lowest level in 50 years. Peter Orszagthe CBO; and Jonathan Chait all agree that the Affordable Care Act is a large part of the reason why. As Chait puts it in his monster Obamacare piece: “The evidence thus far suggests Obamacare’s cost reforms are a staggering success.” — Ryan McCarthy and Shane Ferro

 On to today’s links:

Shinzo Abe’s “Womenomics” – WSJ

JPMorgan discussing another settlement, this time $11b for mortgage issues – Reuters

Bill Ackman gets some good news – DealBook

“To the seasoned finance blogger, US Congressional asshattery lacks the terrifying intrigue it had in 2011″ – Cardiff Garcia

The job market is normalizing, but still pretty mediocre – Matt Phillips
Reminder: “This is, literally, the very picture of a jobless recovery” – Felix

“Twitter is like doing cut-rate cocaine at a boring party where a lot of the guests dislike you” – Michelle Goldberg

Belated Apologies
Bill Gates: control-alt-delete keyboard combination was a ‘mistake’ – Circa

Extremely Hard Jobs
Nate Silver seeking more Nate Silvers – FiveThirtyEight.com

New Normal
Marketing problem: You can’t impulse shop while you’re playing Candy Crush in the checkout line – Priceonomics

“’See if you can get that screw out of the pictures’ of Madoff’s office, Swain told prosecutors” – Bloomberg

One of the brokers charged in the Libor scandal wrote a children’s book with his aunt – WSJ

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the north/south Williamsburg divide – NYT

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