Affordable Care premiums lower than expected
ABOVE PHOTO: President Barack Obama stands with people who support the Affordable Care Act, his signature health care law, as he speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama’s health care law forced about 800,000 federal workers off the job, suspending all but essential services. At second right is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
By Frederick H. Lowe
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire
Health Insurance Marketplace premiums under the Affordable Care Act will be lower than what government officials expected when open enrollment begins October 1, Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, has announced.
The Health Insurance Marketplace, formerly called Affordable Insurance Exchanges, would provide health insurance coverage to 3.8 million African-Americans who otherwise would be uninsured, the Rand Corp., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based research firm, reported in an April 2012 study titled, “The Affordable Care Act and African Americans.”
The study found that 20.8 percent of Blacks lacked health insurance, compared to 16.3 percent of all Americans.
“Premiums nationwide also will be around 16 percent lower than originally expected - about 95 percent of eligible uninsured live in states with lower than expected premiums - before taking into account financial assistance,” Sebelius said. “In the past, consumers were too often denied or priced-out of quality health insurance options, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers will be able to choose from a number of new coverage options at a price that is affordable.”
Pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health coverage
Under the Affordable Care Act, consumers will be able to choose from an average of 53 health plans in the Marketplace.
The vast majority of consumers will have at least two different health insurance companies---usually more, Sebelius said.
The Marketplace, which will open in less than a week, will allow millions of Americans to shop and purchase health-insurance coverage in one place. Consumers can compare health plans side-by-side based on pricing, quality and benefits. No one can be denied health-insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition, like diabetes or prostate cancer.
Seven million expected to sign up
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 7 million people will sign up for insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
In 36 states, the Department of Health and Human Services will either fully or partly run the Marketplace. Consumers will have an average of 53 plan choices.
Plans in the Marketplace are gold, silver or bronze
For example, a 27-year old who makes $25,000 a year living in Dallas can pay$74 a month for the lowest cost bronze plan and $136 month for the lowest-cost silver plan, taking into account tax credits.
For a family of four with an income of $50,000 annually living in Dallas, the lowest bronze plan would cost only $26 per month, taking into account tax credits.Consumers also will be able to learn if they qualify for insurance-premium assistance.
What the insurance exchanges cover
Marketplace-health insurance covers ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity care, newborn care, mental health, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, laboratory services, preventive wellness services and pediatric services.Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins next month and it will continue through March 2014. The Affordable Care Act, which is a federal law, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Have questions? call or get online
Here are some important telephone numbers and websites concerning the Health Insurance Marketplace:
Consumers can participate in online web chats by calling 1-800-318-2596.
The TTY number is 1-855-889-4325
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