Potentially Affordable Care Act
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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.
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 Orszag; the 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: