Rates on the exchange higher in most states, but not NY

In the 36 states in which the Federal exchange is “running,”  rates for the lowest priced plan have increased around $100 a month, although some states are much higher – Wyoming has the biggest change, going from $82 to $271 a month.

So for most of the country – sticker shock is the norm – but in NY its Benefit Shock.  Gone are the old “pay $30 and everything is covered 100%” days.  Unless you want to spend more than $700 a month for a Gold or Platinum plan, you are going to have deductibles and coinsurance.  You can still get a plan for the same price you were paying, but the benefits won’t be the same.

Why?  In New York, most of these changes were made in 1993 with the Community Rating Law.  Guaranteed issue and no medical questions has been the policy for 20 years – and also explains why NY premiums are higher than most of the rest of the country.

Another reason is that a number of major players are generally not participating on the exchanges around the country – United, Aetna, Cigna and Humana.  In many states, these companies can be found “off the exchange” and with lower rates in many cases.

This is all very concerning for the uninsured- who generally cannot afford these rates.  Many will qualify for a subsidy (see the subsidy article in this edition).  The question is can Obamacare solve the issue for the 26.9% of the Georgia population that is uninsured, for example?  That reamins to be seen.

In the meantime, the Country gets to catch up in premiums, and New Yorkers get to “catch up” in benefits design.