The health insurance marketplace opens
Floridians stand to save money – no thanks to Republican obstructionism
Published: October 2, 2013
JUST THE STATS
The average monthly premium for a mid-range health insurance plan in Florida under the Affordable Care Act; $257 for the cheapest plan.
The average monthly premium for a family of four in Orlando earning $50,000 a year, after tax credits are included. Prior to federal subsidies, the monthly premium would be $816
The average monthly premium for a 27-year-old in Orlando, compared to $167 in West Palm Beach
“Obamacare is working and Republicans in Washington are doing everything in their power to take it away, even if it means hurting our economy by shutting down the government and not paying our nation’s bills.”
– Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant in a Sept. 25 statement
Sources: Miami Herald, Florida Democratic Party
Do you feel that? No, not the lingering fingers of Happytown’s annual (and uninvited) Come Out With Pride grope, but the fiery winds of hell scalding your face off now that the Obamacare insurance exchanges are open! They told you it would happen, sometimes even in rhyming Seussian verse, and now there’s no escaping it. Everything is horrible forever and we all might as well be dead.
Except that’s not exactly true. If we dial back to what the original purpose of the Affordable Care Act was – namely, to provide insurance to the uninsured, thereby addressing a health care crisis in this country that is more than the sum of its economic failings – there’s a lot to like about it. We won’t go through the litany of talking points (you can have a pre-existing condition, your loser kids can stay on your plan through 25), but by most objective accounts, the pieces of Obamacare that have already been implemented have at least coincided with an improvement in health care costs. Now comes the big test. Will it float?
On Sept. 25, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a convoluted abacus of crazy numerology that seemed to indicate that the insurance policies offered on the government-run marketplaces launched Oct.1 would actually come in 16 percent lower than initial estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. Hooray! But because this is still a free market and because everybody is different (and because we couldn’t quite get that single-payer thing worked out three years ago), everything that should feel amazing about the ACA now just feels confusing. To wit, much of Florida’s uninsured population will have approximately 100 variations on insurance coverage to choose from; each provider will offer at least three tiers of coverage; more than a million people living below the poverty line will not qualify for federal subsidies because the state chose not to move forward with Medicaid expansion, thereby refusing $55 billion in free money. And those are just the simple-ish facts.
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