For three years the TEApublicans have been screaming, “the sky is falling,” telling us that under Obamacare premiums will sky-rocket and out-of-pocket costs and co-pays would also soar. They have continued to do so even as the first estimates started to come in revealing their wildly inaccurate assumptions, using the currently available plans as a starting point even though few of them comply with the new law.
The Obama administration has attempted to get more accurate numbers out to the public, but many continue to listen to the alarmists who predict nothing but gloom and doom.
Data released Wednesday, based on figures gathered from the 36 states which have elected to allow the federal government to fully or partially run the exchanges for them, along with the 11 states which have set up their own exchanges, shows that the administration itself was being conservative in its estimates. On average the premiums are 16% lower than previous estimates.
When the exchanges open for business next week, the data shows that people will have an average of 56 plans to choose from, depending on the state in which they live. This ranges from a low of seven in Alabama to a high of 106 in Arizona. The average number of insurers they will have to choose from is 8 with a low of 1 to a high of 13, again depending upon the state they live in.
Premiums will range from under $100 per month after tax credits for a bronze plan to somewhat over $250 per month for a silver plan which will cover 70% of costs, this again will depend on the state. The greatest savings will of course be in the states where there are more participating insurers creating more competition.
Before the tax credits kick in, a 27-year-old earning $25,000 in Arizona, with 106 plans to choose from would be able to purchase a silver plan for about $166 a month. In Wyoming where there are only 16 plans to choose from, that figure climbs to $342. After allowing for the tax credits, that 27-year-old will be paying about $145 a month in most states. A family of four with an income of $50,000 in most states would see a starting premium of $1,000 a month drop to $282.
A bronze plan that covers 60% of costs would be available in most states for under $100 a month after the tax credits. The generally accepted figure is 6 in 10 Americans who currently have no insurance could have this coverage for under $100 a month. Of course it remains to be seen how many will elect to pay the penalty of $95 or 1% of income whichever is greater rather than purchase insurance, but the numbers do not support the dire warnings of the TEApublicans.