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HHS Releases New Details About 2014 Marketplace Premiums, Subsidies

By Mary Agnes Carey

June 18th, 2014, 9:01 AM

Federal officials on Wednesday released new data about who enrolled in the federal health marketplace plans for 2014, how much the law’s subsidies helped offset the cost and how many plans people from could choose from, among other details.

“What we’re finding is that the marketplace is working. Consumers have more choices and they’re paying less for their premiums,” newly installed Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement.

The report was one in a series of ongoing updates from HHS about enrollment in the online exchanges or marketplaces. Federal officials have said more than 8 million people signed up for coverage under the health law. The document analyzed trends in the 36 states where the federal government is running the online marketplace, or exchange. It did not include similar data for the 14 states and the District of Columbia that are running their own exchanges because the data is not available, according to the report.

The document did not include data on how many people who enrolled in coverage have actually paid their premiums, which they must do before coverage begins. Some critics of the program have suggested that many people signing up for coverage have not paid for it and shouldn’t be considered part of the 8 million touted by the government.

Key points include:

– Individuals who enrolled in the health law’s “silver” plans – the most popular in the federal marketplace – and qualified for tax subsidies to help finance coverage paid average monthly premiums of $69.

– Just under 70 percent of enrollees who picked a plan with tax credits had monthly premiums of $100  and 46 percent had premiums of $50 or less. Eighteen percent of consumers who qualified for tax credits had monthly premiums of $150 or more.

– Across all plan types – platinum, gold, silver and bronze – people who selected plans with tax subsidies saw their share of the premium decrease 76 percent, from $346 to $82 monthly.

– Consumers could choose coverage from an average of five health insurers and 47 plans. Eighty-two percent of people had 3 or more companies to choose from.

– No matter what level of coverage consumers selected on the federal exchange, they tended to pick the plans with the lowest premiums. The lowest or second-lowest plan accounted for 60 percent or more of plan selections in the bronze, silver and platinum metal levels, 54 percent in the gold metal level and 93 percent in the catastrophic level.

– While 266 insurers offered more than 19,000 plans across the country, the number of insurers in any particular state varied, with a low of one insurer in New Hampshire and West Virginia to a high of 16 in New York.

“Early reports from the states suggest that additional issuers will be entering the marketplace in 2015,” according to the report, but the process is ongoing and preliminary rate submissions could change.

7 Responses to “HHS Releases New Details About 2014 Marketplace Premiums, Subsidies”

  1. Dawn says:

    I’ve seen a lot of reports about the numbers of enrollees who qualified for subsidies and clearly those subsidies made premiums quite affordable. What seems to be missing in all these reports is how middle-income Americans who might be just $1 over the subsidy qualification income level in their state are faring in terms of quality of plan, premium cost, out-of-pocket expenses, etc.
    I found that in Georgia the premiums on were a staggering 40% higher for anything comparable to my current individual market plan, one that I had kept for 4 years. Out of pocket costs and deductibles were also substantially higher. I don’t have a junk plan – to match my plan I had to move to the gold level.

  2. lissmth says:

    Unbelievable! Average premium, $82? Somebody is paying the rest and it is the taxpayers. Prior to Obamacare, a 25-year-old man could get a high-deductible policy for a mere $35 a month. Now, it is illegal for any company to sell him that. How long before a revolt?

  3. Tom says:

    To Chicken Little above,

    Don’t you tea party freaks ever get tired of throwing out the same old vomit? Here’s a new flash…the marketplace is working and it’s here to stay!

  4. MIKE says:

    @LISSMITH: It is not illegal for companies to sell that to him. He will simply not be able to avoid the tax penalty because that is most likely not a QHP, or Qualified Health Plan which includes all the Essential Health Benefits described in the Affordable Care Act.

  5. George Fulmore says:

    Thanks for the updates. I find this news service to be a vital link to the news of health care reform. I’d still like to know more about exactly who took advantage of the exchanges, why, and why so many others did not. This kind of data will help enroll more this next time around. Another eight million would seem to be a reasonable goal for 2015?

  6. Tommy says:

    So here is my view as a Non-US person (I am actually getting my green card soon in order to immigrate to the US, hence the interest in the topic):
    The US health care system has been and continues to be in the hands of profit oriented private insurance companies, hospitals and doctors who are all charging at horrendously high levels. The pharmaceutical industry will surely also continue to profit.

    In comes what they call the “Affordable” Care Act!

    Affordable to most people now, and accessible to all, and even including things that people were previously able to decline. So the insurance companies hiked their premiums, often double and triple of what they were before for many.

    So the result is that three quarters of all Americans will get the vast portion of the extremely expensive insurance cover simply subsidized, hence paid for by the Government?
    Where does the Government get the funds from? From the tax payers, which is everyone still generating an income. It is NAIVE to believe the ACA/Obamacare has been a success, when the fact is that premiums have skyrocketed and are simply paid for by general taxes from those who are above the prescribed income levels. Those who don’t qualify for the subsidies will also already pay more taxes BECAUSE of their higher incomes (that they actually work for) and now receive the double whammy of having to also pay for their healthcare in full by themselves.
    And only because people get most of their health premiums paid for by the Government initially, does not mean they will not eventually have to pay back some of it due to income changes throughout the year. Which leads me to the point, that by receiving maximum subsidies, directly taken off those monthly premiums, they are not helping people get motivated to generate more income, as this means they would in fact be reassessed and possibly liable for repayments in the following year.
    This “Affordable Care Act” is just like saying there is enough money and if there is not enough we just print more….someone will have to pay.
    The CORE issue with the US health system is that it is still in the hands of the same profit oriented private businesses, pharmaceuticals making their own pricing, doctors and hospitals charging horrendous fees compared to the rest of the world, and insurance companies “offering” plans that are a disgrace with these sky high premiums, deductables and out-of-pocket allowances, mostly now paid for by everybody’s taxes.
    So why is the Obama Administration going into bed with these profiteering businesses, rather than setting up REAL health care…just like in most other western nations that call themselves modern societies. It surely doesn’t help making people believe universal basic healthcare, paid for by everyone at a low percentage of income (ex. Australia 1.5 to 2.5%), would be “evil socialism”. The reason why they broadcast this propaganda is to help those profiteering businesses, and the little guy thinks how brilliant it is that he only pays $50 a month, while his actual premium is $300.

  7. Michael Robinson says:

    When the government cherry picks those with inexpensive healthcare insurance plans WITH government subsidies the statistics look good. While the ACA has mandated that I get insurance my wife and I have an income that will not qualify us for the subsidies. Thus far I have paid 1250 in deductible this year, 3102 in premiums, and insurance paid a total of 246 dollars. Who is winning? The folks who wrote the law and that isn’t congress or the president who allowed big healthcare, insurance and pharmacies to effectively create a captive marketplace and gain government(tax payer) subsidies to boot. My healthcare provider recently published rate increases in the 6-7% range for hospital care on top of already outrageous costs. Bottom line: Don’t get sick and if you do die quickly.