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Affordable Premiums in the Federal Exchange

The Department of Health and Human Services released rates for the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace today. While prices varied considerably in the 36 states that opted to have the federal government run exchanges, average prices are 16% lower than costs projected by the Congressional Budget Office.[1]

There is significant variation in choice and cost amongst states. Some states, such as Wyoming, Alaska, Alabama, and West Virginia, have limited competition and only offer plans from a few insurance carriers, or even just one in some cases, compared to as many as 13 different choices in other states. The states with limited options also face some of the highest costs, although premium subsidies will still ensure that low- and middle-income families can purchase insurance at reasonable rates. In states with more competition, like Texas and Florida, rates are very affordable, and consumers will have numerous plan options. When premium subsidies are factored into cost, 56% of individuals will have access to a plan that costs less than $100 per person per month.[2] In some areas, lower-incomer individuals could pay just a few dollars a month for the least expensive bronze option.[3]

Many of the affordable rates compare to offerings in Covered California. See the table for a comparison of the cheapest rates by tier and age between Los Angeles and other states.

 

25 year old

40 year old

60 year old

  Bronze Silver Gold Bronze Silver Gold Bronze Silver Gold
Los Angeles

 $147

 $174

 $199

 $188

 $222

 $253

 $398

 $471

 $537

Texas

 $104

 $146

 $166

 $132

 $186

 $212

 $281

 $395

 $450

Florida

 $123

 $160

 $181

 $156

 $203

 $229

 $331

 $432

 $488

Ohio

 $145

 $170

 $194

 $185

 $216

 $246

 $393

 $459

 $523

Arizona

 $114

 $130

 $148

 $145

 $166

 $189

 $308

 $353

 $401

Wyoming

 $260

 $294

 $331

 $331

 $375

 $422

 $702

 $796

 $896

New Jersey

 $210

 $242

 $291

 $267

 $308

 $370

 $566

 $654

 $786

 

No information was released today about what insurance companies are participating or the cost sharing structures, but all information will be available at healthcare.gov on October 1st, when open enrollment begins.

Additionally, states were split up into different rating regions using varying methodologies. Some smaller states such as Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Delaware created just one rating region, while other states likes North Carolina and Ohio were split up into numerous regions based on counties, zip codes, or metropolitan statistical areas.[4] South Carolina has 46 regions, while Florida has 67.

You can view the rates at http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketplacePremiums/datasheet_home.cfm.


[1] Tami Luhby. Obamacare premium rates lower than expected. CNN Money. September 25, 2013.

[2] Harris Meyer. Most federally run exchanges will offer more plans, lower premiums than expected, HHS report shows. Modern Healthcare. September 25, 2013.

[3] Ibid.

[4] The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Market Rating Reforms: State Specific Geographic Rating Areas. Retrieved from http://www.cms.gov/cciio/programs-and-initiatives/health-insurance-market-reforms/state-gra.html

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