Here's the story. The state Department of Insurance, which Taylor oversees, announced that people buying insurance on their own, rather than through their employer, could see rate hikes of as much as 88 percent. The emphasis there should be on the "could" part. But Taylor says, “The Department’s initial analysis of the proposed rates show consumers will have fewer choices and pay much higher premiums for their health insurance starting in 2014.” Except that's not really the whole story, as Jonathon Cohn explains in this exhaustive debunking that should be required reading for everyone who has to debunk Republicans on Obamacare. Starting with:
For starters, the release neglected to point out how those regulations on insurance companies, the ones making coverage more expensive, will also allow people with pre-existing conditions to get comprehensive coverage. Many cannot do that now.So, for the people who've never been able to get insurance, now they will. They, and everyone else, will also get lots of preventive and wellness care without having a copay, which will save everyone a few bucks. But there's also this:
You’ll have a choice over how much financial protection you want: You can go for a “bronze” plan, which will have high co-payments and deductibles, or you can pay more to get a “silver,” “gold,” or “platinum” plan that would leave you paying less out of pocket once you get care. But even if you opt for a bronze plan, the law will limit what you pay in out-of-pocket expenses to $6,350 for an individual. Your exposure will be lower if, because of your low income, you qualify for additional financial protection from the government.And this:
A $6,350 deductible is still quite big. It’s one reason liberals (like me) keep saying Obamacare doesn’t guarantee as much coverage as it should. But compare that to one of the policies available in Ohio today—the Saver 80, from UnitedHealth. The Saver 80 will pay for periodic preventative visits and childhood immunizations, all without co-pays. But if you need any of the other services included in the policy, you’ll pay for them out-of-pocket until you’ve reached a $10,000 deductible. At that point, you’ll generally pay 20 percent of your bills until you’ve spent another $3,000, at which point full insurance coverage will finally kick in. Yes, that’s maximum out-of-pocket spending of $13,000.
By the way, plans like these help explain why the 88 percent figure is so useless. To come up with the figure, the Insurance Department literally took an average of the different bids that carriers submitted. Officials paid no attention to how many people might enroll in different plans, nor did they account for the varying benefit levels.Of course, what's also missing from the release is the tax credits, the premium subsidies, that many, many people will receive. How many? They'll be available to people with incomes below 400 percent of the poverty line. That's a single individual making about $46,000 a year or a family of four with an income of $94,000. (This is where the evil IRS comes in, helping figure out how much money you won't have to be paying on your health insurance premium.)
Keep the link to the Cohn piece handy. There's going to be a lot more debunking to do in the coming months.