Here's one state benefiting from Obamacare
New Yorkers will see lower health care premiums with the Affordable Care Act. Then again, they have some of the highest rates around.
As concerns rise about how the Affordable Care Act will affect health insurance rates, residents of one state are getting some good news.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that individuals buying their own health insurance will see rates that are, on average, 50% below those currently offered by insurers, The New York Times reports.
While that's surely a success story for the health care insurance overhaul, a footnote is attached to those lower rates: New York is coming off some of the highest insurance premiums in the country.
The Empire State currently suffers from high rates because it requires insurers to accept customers regardless of preexisting conditions, but it doesn't mandate that all residents carry insurance. As a result, the young and healthy don't have a reason to buy coverage, pushing up the costs for those who do.
The numbers show a startling picture. The state has 19.6 million residents, with 2.6 million of them uninsured. Only 17,000 New Yorkers actually purchase health insurance individually, The Times noted.
"If there was any state that the ACA could bring rates down, it was New York," Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University, told the publication.
Currently, a Manhattan family faces monthly costs of anywhere from $3,225 to as high as $7,052 for a health care plan bought on the open market from insurers including Aetna (AET). Under the proposed rates Cuomo announced, families will see costs fall to between $1,573 and $2,331 on the so-called Gold Plan, the second-highest-level option under the overhaul.
Some consumers may also qualify for subsidies, based on their incomes, which could lower costs even more.
Not every state will see similar benefits. A recent report noted that some healthy people may end up paying more. The Wall Street Journal found that a fit person in Virginia may end up paying far more than now. Chronically ill people might be the biggest beneficiaries across much of the country, especially if they're currently unable to find an insurer willing to cover them. Obamacare requires plans to cover all Americans, regardless of their health.
For New York, the lower rates might benefit not only individuals but small businesses.
As one commenter wrote to The New York Times: "I pay almost $1,500 per month for my individual Oxford HMO policy. Imagine what additional stimulus I can be for the economy if I have several hundred extra dollars per month."
Still, with only 17,000 people currently shelling out New York's sky-high rates, the benefit will have a limited reach.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
The healthy will pay more in health care taxes so that the unhealthy pay less.
So are we transitioning from a redistribution of wealth to a redistribution of health?
It was planned long before he won the Presidency.
Then he'll blame Bush!
When California announced their ACA plans would save residents a lot of money it made big news. However a few days later after the big announcement died down some analysts dug into the numbers and found most individuals would end up paying a lot more. It turned CA had compared the cost of the ACA individual plans to plans that businesses give their employees...two different things. The fact remained that individuals would in general pay a lot more even thought the news media told us they would pay a lot less.
I wonder what the news will be for these NY numbers in a few weeks after someone has had time to dig into them. How can people in CA or Ohio end up paying a lot more and yet people in NY pay less. Something seems fishy to me...
Women can no longer be charged higher premiums for health insurance just because they are women, all people will pay less than otherwise for preexisting conditions and must now be covered, and those younger than 26 can remain on their parents' insurance plans. Many families will be able to afford insurance that they cannot otherwise afford even working two jobs, or at Walmart and other such places.
Insurance companies must now spend about 80% of the premiums they collect for actual health care instead of about 73% of each health care dollar currently. And, with the exchanges in each of the states, more competition among insurers can't be a bad thing for the health consuming public.
It's unfortunate that some publications choose to scare people with their guesses and suppositions about what bad will happen once the new system is in place and the kinks are worked out. I just hope they are reminded about where they were right and wrong after the new system is actually up and running although that usually doesn't happen, and they would never admit they were wrong.
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