How the Affordable Care Act becomes unaffordable

Even Obamacare coverage with reasonably priced monthly premiums can quickly turn into a financial burden.

By Aimee Picchi Jun 14, 2013 12:19PM

Insurance Money © Comstock Images, JupiterimagesThe Affordable Care Act implies a promise in its very name, suggesting health care coverage will be within reach of all Americans' pocketbooks. 

But new details about some states' insurance exchanges are raising doubts about the overall affordability of what are supposed to be budget-friendly plans. 

Many consumers have focused on the monthly premiums insurers will charge, regardless of whether you're sick or seeking treatment. 

Some plans are actually rolling in with lower premiums than forecast. California's midlevel silver category of coverage, for instance, will offer rates ranging from $304 to $335 per month. 

But monthly premiums alone don't illustrate the entire cost of coverage, especially when plans carry high deductibles. For California's silver level, enrollees will also face a $2,000 deductible, as well as $45 fees for visiting a primary care doctor and $250 for an emergency room visit, CNNMoney reports.

That means silver-level enrollees could face annual costs of more than $6,100, based on their meeting the deductible, paying monthly rates and visiting the doctor and ER once a year. 

That's not likely to win over skeptics -- and much of the country is populated with citizens already concerned about the impact of Obamacare, which goes into effect in 2014. 

Fifty-four percent of Americans oppose the law. That's little changed from 2010, when President Barack Obama signed the legislation. 

The government will offer subsidies to help pay premiums for people earning up to four times the federal poverty level, and it will provide additional help for lower-earning families and individuals to cover out-of-pocket expenses. 

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

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

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Jun 14, 2013 1:15PM
in other words, it's crap.  just like 54% of us knew before it became law.  I agree we need healthcare overhaul, but Obamacare is not one.  just insurance company subsidy.
Jun 14, 2013 1:33PM
Obamacare is only unaffordable to those who actually have to pay for it - the taxpayers.  Those million of leeches that are now covered won't have to pay for it anyway.  The subsidies for premiums and out-of-pocket costs are only going to increase - they always do.   It's just another wealth redistribution, vote buying scheme - confiscate wealth from the producers and give it away to the deadbeats in exchange for votes. 
Jun 14, 2013 1:40PM
In California the "Silver" plan will cost a person in their 50s $6400.00 for the first year. This is not affordable for the vast majority of people seeking individual coverage. With annual increases of 20% being the norm, in 5 years the cost will rise to $13,300. Affordable care???? Not even close. 
Jun 14, 2013 2:03PM
My only comment is that things are the way they are because we allow it.  These idiots actually voted for something they had no understanding of and have never read. 
Jun 14, 2013 1:31PM
Give me our old system before Obamacame, make all hospital fees uniform and transparent.  Medicare and Medicaid stop paying $5 for bandaids, stop unnecessary test after test. Confront people and say "sorry you are dying, accept it,  spending  $500,000, that isn't yours, will only prolong your misery 3 days" and we'd all be better off.
Jun 14, 2013 2:02PM
yeah  so i looked up my insurance...    cheapest was 1635.00 per month..    don't think i am buying any.... i will go to court first...   rather piss my money away fighting it....
Jun 14, 2013 2:00PM

"If you like the healthcare plan that you have now, you will be able to keep it and will not have to change your healthcare insurance"--------Politician Barry Obama politicking in 2010 and 2011.


"Let's just pass it (Obama-Care) and then we will see what is in the law then"-------Ignorant Democratic Congress Woman Nancy Pelosi polliticking among her constituents in 2010.


"Obama-Care is Bull $HlT Care"-----Road to Perdition 2013

Jun 14, 2013 2:11PM
Really?  46% of the people like this crap?  I don't believe that.  I challenge the author to substantiate that level of support.  I have never found one person that believed anything except that we were shystered by the democrats.
Jun 14, 2013 2:07PM

Don't worry people.  Remember what Barry Obama promised-----"If you like the healthcare plan that you have now, you can keep it and won't have to change your health insurance."

Jun 14, 2013 2:20PM
Best way to combat Obamacare is to not join it. Let them fine you on your taxes, it's still cheaper than contributing to the insurance industry. If you don't have it now, why bother. They can't get blood out of a turnip. Not to mention, if the majority don't comply watch how fast the govt takes notice.
Jun 14, 2013 2:05PM
Damn....and that was the silver plan?  What does the bronze plan get you?  Maybe you pay them the $304 monthly and that gets you a colonoscopy with tongue depresser and an aspirin and sent on your way.  B-O-H-I-C-A.  Bend Over Here It Comes Again!
Jun 14, 2013 3:01PM

Previous referencwes to ACA being a thinly disguised vote buying scheme is 100% accurate, as is Dodd Frank, Immigration reform, birth control subsidies etc etc. I can not think of a single piece of legislation in the past 8-10 yearsthat wasnt passed to gain votes. A subtle but definite move to push out into the future unpopular provisions of Obamacare is underway to avoid supporters, mostlly dems, from losing elections in huge numbers.

Factually, once the lawyers, tort reform, were exempted from the bill there was NEVER going to be anything resembling reform. Watch the democrats try to distance themselves from the ACA and the president while campaigning. They probably can win anyway since we have an electorate that mostly think Bengazi is a mixed drink and the recent administration scandals are OK since they arent affected-they think. Please vote, and throw all the incumbents out ofoffice thats possible.

Jun 14, 2013 1:54PM
Well Jay now I will certainly be worrying about the cost of healthcare as my premiums/taxes are going to go way up to cover all this. As if they weren't high already, you hardly have to be Rich to be concerned over your healthcare costs.  Costs in healthcare ALWAYS shift to those paying full price for insurance policies, AND to the taxpayers, well those who are paying taxes.  And if you work in healthcare you are already getting "notices" on all the wonderful new documentation required for this.  Oh, it's a thing of beauty, AND it's just the start! They have let us know there is more coming!  Maybe I'll still have some hair to turn gray after pulling most of it out trying to comply with all the new ridiculous double documentation/reports/statistics etc. we are required to do for this.
Jun 14, 2013 2:18PM
How do 46% of the people support Obama-Care? The only people that should support this are those that are going to make us pay for their family's cost of healthcare. How can that be 46%?
Jun 14, 2013 5:03PM
Obama care, and the health care insurance behemoth overall is inherently unsustainable. Eventually there will be a mass rejection of the entire system.  The bureaucracy will get bigger and bigger until it finally collapses under its own weight. Then we can all move on to more sensible options such as; transparent cost, cash only doctors, catastrophic general funds, super computer assisted diagnostics,  realistic market driven drug prices, tort reform...ect.  When the money is gone many of these options will come to fruition naturally. 
Jun 14, 2013 2:22PM
America is a banana republic and 54% seem to revel in that reality.
Jun 14, 2013 3:05PM
  I know who signed it what I want to know, who are the actual writers of the law?  They should be held accountable or at least have their name on the paper work so we know who wrote it. 
Jun 14, 2013 6:32PM
One thing and one thing only keeps the cost of any product or service down.  Your right to
choose to walk away, do without.  EVERY time the federal govt. mandates something,
anything, the cost goes UP because we no longer have that right to "walk away".  With 
healthcare it will be more of the same. It's just like the lie they spout about taxing business
instead of the individual.  If you have a business that makes 10% profit on $1,000,000 of
sales and the govt. raises taxes on that company by $40,000, the company then raises
their prices, justifiably, to continue making a 10% profit!  Only an idiot works their tail off
for little or no profit.  But now the business owners look greedy and the govt. looks like they
really care.  All politicians, both sides of the aisle, have been using this particular scam
for decades and the American people are mostly to damn stupid to realize it!  So don't
think for a minute that not only healthcare costs but ALL costs will go up because if a 
businesses employee healthcare expense goes up, their prices will go up to cover the
additional cost to them, so they can stay in business!  THERE AINT NO FREE LUNCH!!
If you think about it, our lying congress and President are guilty of the same type of fraud,
as the Bernie Madoff's of the world, making ridiculous promises they CANNOT fulfill.
Perhaps it's time to jail the whole damn bunch of them too!
Jun 14, 2013 2:01PM

The article was sort of a let down. I mean by God if your going to convince people they do not need health care, we should have bolder reasons than annual deductibles and emergency room fees. These people who make under 80 thou have seen friends go to hospitals and be made painless in an empty room with no heroics to keep them alive. They were tough and said their goodbyes to relatives and friends and slipped away no muss and fuss. Why can't we make it a great privilege to just slip away quietly. That's it!!  I died like a great person tough.  

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