Said NY Times article starts of with a Typical Human Interest story about a family that saw their premium skyrocket, and if they just made a little bit less they would be eligible for some sort of subsidy, then notes
The Chapmans acknowledge that they are better off than many people, but they represent a little-understood reality of the Affordable Care Act. While the act clearly benefits those at the low end of the income scale — and rich people can continue to afford even the most generous plans — people like the Chapmans are caught in the uncomfortable middle: not poor enough for help, but not rich enough to be indifferent to cost.
“We are just right over that line,” said Ms. Chapman, who is 54 and does administrative work for a small wealth management firm. Because their plan is being canceled, she is looking for new coverage for her family, which includes Mr. Chapman, 55, a retired fireman who works on a friend’s farm, and her two sons. “That’s an insane amount of money,” she said of their new premium. “How are you supposed to pay that?”
Insane. Yet, that’s just the premium. The Chapman’s haven’t even gotten to the point where they are considering the insane deductibles. But, this Times article is about premiums
An analysis by The New York Times shows the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s. In some places, prices can quickly approach 20 percent of a person’s income.
Experts consider health insurance unaffordable once it exceeds 10 percent of annual income. By that measure, a 50-year-old making $50,000 a year, or just above the qualifying limit for assistance, would find the cheapest available plan to be unaffordable in more than 170 counties around the country, ranging from Anchorage to Jackson, Miss.
Of course, let’s be honest, there are 3,007 counties in the United States. Heck, North Carolina alone has 100. But, because of Obamacare, 6% would find their premiums “unaffordable”. But a lot of this is based not just on county, but earnings, in terms of whether one would qualify for a subsidy (and let’s not forget that subsidies in those states with a federally run Marketplace are actually against the law).
The article also notes that the availability of the subsidies, and how much they are, can change dramatically from year to year based on earnings, meaning more rate shocks.
But, what the article doesn’t touch on is the notion as to what happens with those with employer based coverage. They do not qualify for subsidies. But, they might see their subsidies skyrocket, because those plans must have the same offerings of the Exchange plans. We’ll soon start seeing exactly what they are. Employer based is around 44% of the population.
Interestingly, 17.1% stated they were uninsured in 2012. I wonder what that rate will be come 2014? Of course, in reality, if you have a plan but cannot afford the deductibles, you are still essentially uninsured.