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The Time for Obamacare Predictions is Over


The Department of Health and Human Services have just released the premium rates for all the federally run health care exchanges that will go live on October 1st in 36 states. It’s the single biggest info dump on ACA rates we’ve seen yet. What do these rates tell us? As per usual, they came with comparisons to the rates predicted by the CBO in 2010, not to the current rates paid by the insured. But when the comparisons to current rates are run, they pretty much confirm what we already knew. Avik Roy:

As you can see from the map above, many 27-year-olds will face steep increases in the underlying cost of individually-purchased insurance under Obamacare. For the states where we have data—the 36 reported by HHS, plus nine others that we had compiled for our map that HHS didn’t report—rates will go up for men by an average of 97 percent; for women, 55 percent….

Worst off was Nebraska, where the difference between the cheapest plan under the old system and under Obamacare was 279 percent for men, and 227 percent for women: more than triple the old rate. Faring best was Colorado, where rates will decline for both 27-year-old men and women by 36 percent. The only other state to see a rate decline in this analysis was New Hampshire: 8 percent for both men and women.

In other words, this is all very much of a piece with everything we’ve seen so far: premiums are on average lower than predicted, but higher than what many currently pay. Just how much higher or lower varies widely depending on gender, age, location, income level. The WH is focused on the first kind of figure for PR purposes; opponents of the bill point to the second, and the American people are still pretty much confused about all this.

The time for Obamacare predictions and expectations, then, is pretty much over now. We know as much as we will ever know from prospective data sets. If you’re looking to make up your mind about the law based on that kind of data, all the information you will ever get is in. Politico argues that we still don’t know what people will really pay, because only rates for certain select demographics were released. However, those demographics are diverse enough, and key enough to the law’s success, that it seems unlikely the rest of the data will be dramatically different from what has now been released.

What’s left now is to see how that data interacts with individual choices, something that we can’t really predict.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This is a huge new tax on an economy already being crushed under the burden of Big Government. It’s October, expect the markets to tank as the real size of this tax makes itself felt.

  • Anthony

    “American people are still pretty much confused about all this.” For related information and general facts vis-a-vis ACA, see 16 myths about the health care law:

  • Stacy Garvey

    So, 20-somethings without employer provided coverage will have the opportunity to purchase a more expensive individual plan that in all likelihood will reduced the number of physicians/specialists/hospitals they have access to. Great. That’ll work.

  • Boritz

    If you like your current plan you can keep it. There should be a checkbox for that; or maybe that’s a separate form.

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