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Under terms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act the state of Maryland has started up a Healthcare Exchange where anyone who is not covered by an employer health plan must purchase health insurance. Maryland will also, in January, start up an exchange for small businesses.

Being a curious sort, and also paying over $6000 per month for health insurance for my company, I thought it would be interesting to see how my commercial small-group (< 10 employees) stacked up.

The employment market that I operate in is very competitive and things like health insurance are an expected employee benefit, so I really MUST provide health insurance to my staff. My partner and I have decided, for the time being, to fully cover all health insurance costs for our full-time employees. This is better than the typical coverage provided in the market where employees usually pay ~20% of the premiums.

To provide full coverage at a reasonable price we are covered by a "high-deductible" Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, and we provide $3000 in a Health Savings Account to help with out-of-pocket costs. Looking at the ACA Plans, we provide essentially a "Silver" plan, not the worst, but also not the best.

Maryland, like some other states and the federal government rolling out the Healthcare Exchanges, experienced some computer issues, so it wasn't until yesterday that I could compare costs.

I WAS SHOCKED. The Healthcare exchange offers a "Silver" plan for a family of 3, with no children under 19, for $826-868, with lower deductibles. That is 1/2, ONE HALF, the cost that I'm currently paying Aetna. For less than what I'm currently paying (~$1600 for family coverage), I could get one of two Platinum plans that are offered in Maryland. Those plans have $0 deductibles in-network, and small co-pays for service, truly platinum-plated coverage.

I'm now very interested to see what Maryland's small business plans will look like, if they are JUST this. We'll be moving to the healthcare exchange. If the small business plans aren't this good, we'll just drop coverage (we can because we're under 50 employees) and increase folks salaries to cover the costs and send employees to the exchange. We'll SAVE between $5000 and $8000 PER EMPLOYEE per year.

So much for the end of American Civilization....

8:00 AM PT: update -- If any of the poll takers that are paying more are around, I encourage you to comment on your situation, or use your experience for a diary. I'd personally like to see how the exchanges are causing rates to increase.

8:00 AM PT: update -- If any of the poll takers that are paying more are around, I encourage you to comment on your situation, or use your experience for a diary. I'd personally like to see how the exchanges are causing rates to increase.


Have you compared your current insurance plan and rates with that available through the ACA Health Insurance Exchanges?

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