Parsing the premiums in new Obamacare exchanges

Media outlets analyze the data on premiums for 36 states released this week by the Obama administration -- looking at the impact of competition on prices and assessing which regions -- and which consumers -- might be winners or losers in the new online marketplaces.

Kaiser Health News: Lessons From The Obamacare Data Dump
This week the Department of Health and Human Services released a ton of information about how insurance sold in 36 states under the Affordable Care Act will work. Most of it came in the form of data showing the number of carriers and their premium prices in hundreds of regions. Until now we've seen information on subsidized policies to be sold through online marketplaces released in trickles by states that are creating their own online portals (Hancock, 9/27).

North Carolina Health News: North Carolina Insurance Rates A Mixed Bag
As the enrollment period for health insurance being offered under the Affordable Care Act, the rates for plans purchased through the health insurance marketplaces in North Carolina are finally emerging. Rates for the plans vary widely across the state, and in many areas are higher than the national average, in part because few insurers have jumped into the market in North Carolina (Hoban, 9/27).

MinnPost: Minnesota's Top Health Insurance Ranking Didn't Include All Factors
The federal analysis that proclaimed Minnesota's health insurance premiums the lowest in the nation didn't take into account factors that could have upped the cost. National data released Wednesday found other states much higher than the average $144 monthly price for the cheapest low-tier plan on the MNsure health exchange. Similar coverage in Wyoming, for example, listed for $425 (Nord, 9/26).

Meanwhile, two media outlets report on a study by the right-leaning Manhattan Institute noting that some people, among them young men, will pay comparatively more in the new marketplaces --

CBS News: Study: Insurance Costs To Soar Under Obamacare
New research from the Manhattan Institute estimates that insurance rates for young men will rise by 99 percent. Rates for younger women will rise between 55 percent to 62 percent, according to the right-leaning New York think tank. The precise impact of the new health law is likely to vary markedly from state-to-state, however. That's largely because different states have had different requirements for what had to be included in health insurance policies in the past. The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, overrides these rules and sets a federal overlay that demands a wide array of mandatory coverages. The Manhattan Institute has drawn up an interactive map that may help forecast the rise in cost for individuals (Kristof, 9/26).

Fox News: Despite Gov't Assurances, Some Could See Insurance Costs Soar Under Obamacare
On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released an overview of premiums and plan choices, saying "For millions of Americans, these new options will finally make health insurance work within their budgets." The administration also said premiums would generally be lower than what congressional budget experts had estimated during debate on the legislation. But former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin said Thursday, "unfortunately you can go all through that HHS report and not be able to answer the most important question: will my insurance rates go up in 2014?" (Angle, 9/27).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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