Happy Wednesday everyone. Upon scanning the internet, I see that more and more states are announcing rates under the new public exchanges. These rates are being quoted sometimes as a sample of what is available or as a range. Most of these announcements are touting the benefits of the lower rates or improved coverage and sometimes both. On the surface, things look good, but the devil is in the detail and the detail is not being provided. There are clues though.
For example, New York is touting that rates will be lower. Great, right? Well… how do you feel about having lower rates but only having access to the Medicaid network? That isn’t stated but it is stated that many of the 17 insurers specialize in offering Medicaid plans. In life, you don’t get something for nothing. In this case, premiums may be lower but the network of doctors looks like it may be smaller.
Also, an article for a state in the northwest was doing a comparison of $2500 deductible plans for single individuals with the Silver plan. I have not been able to find a Silver plan definition where it says Silver plans will have about a $2500 deductible. Also, there was no information about co-insurance for this $2500 deductible plan they were comparing. This comparison was irrelevant because it had no basis for saying the 2 plans were in any way comparable. Most other articles, especially in states where rates were going higher, said it would be impossible to compare current plans with the new public exchange plans. Their reasoning was because the new health care plans include more coverage including maternity, mental health and substance abuse, and pediatric dental and vision care. With current plans available on the individual market, you had a choice as to whether you wanted these coverages and thus, choose a lower premium. What I found very interesting is when the articles state the additional coverage as “additional benefits.” It isn’t a benefit unless you need the coverage. If you are a 60 year old woman, do you really need maternity coverage?
My point to this article is that there isn’t enough information to “peel back the onion” and make a conclusion on how the new rates compare. All the articles are opinion articles intended to make the new health plans look like a good thing for everyone. For some people, this new law will be a great thing, especially those that have lower income, don’t have health insurance but don’t qualify for Medicaid. For others, it will be a big pain in their wallet. That is how pretty much all laws are.
So, once all the information is available on what the public exchange plans will look like and what their premiums will be, then we will finally be able to do an accurate comparison. Until then, each side of the new health care law will spout how great or how lousy this new law is while making speculative statements that they will pose as fact.
Know that I will have comparisons here when the information is available. More to come…