Obamacare premiums may be lower than expected, but...

healthcare3.jpgCan anybody make heads of tails of the insurance rates for California's new health care marketplace? I'm still a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, but I've got to wonder how many folks in need of health coverage can sift through the whys and wherefores of the Silver plan and figure out how it differs from the Bronze or Gold (not to mention compare it with what they currently have). I also wonder whether the people lacking insurance will be able to afford the two or three hundred bucks a month in premiums - or the ones who will see their rates jack up because, as I understand, their current coverage will need to be upgraded. One more thing: Politics is certain to be embedded in any assessment of the law's implementation, with supporters and opponents standing their ground in the coming months no matter how well or poorly the program pans out. From the LAT:

Nationwide, income fluctuations are estimated to interrupt coverage for as many as 28 million people expected to bounce between Medicaid and the federally subsidized health insurance exchanges that states are working to create, according to an article in the journal Health Affairs. Among those most at risk are seasonal and hourly workers and young adults who lack coverage through their parents or jobs, experts said. Patients who can't see their doctors or get their medication will either avoid care or end up in publicly subsidized emergency rooms, pushing healthcare costs even higher, experts said. And insurance premiums will rise if young, healthy people get fed up with the transitions and opt out of health coverage altogether.

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein points out that California is actually at the forefront of the state-run marketplace:

California is a particularly important test for Obamacare. It's not just the largest state in the nation. It's also one of the states most committed to implementing Obamacare effectively. Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- remember how that really happened? -- California was the first state to begin building its insurance exchanges. The state's outreach efforts are unparalleled. Its insurance regulators are working hard to bring in good plans and make sure they're playing fair. If California can't make the law work, perhaps no one can. But if California can make the law work, it shows that others can, too.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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