SO with only 12 days until the healthcare exchanges roll out nationwide and in Delaware, you are probably wondering what is going to happen in the Diamond State.
If you have signed up for the “Choose Health Delaware” e-mails, you probably have been getting many as the state gets more and more excited to bring us the “healthcare insurance exchange”. Of course, Delaware still hasn’t received approval for its pricing plans from the Federal government as of this writing (September 19), so if they don’t get it by October 1 then it is possible the state will begin rolling out coverage plans which have no price attached to them. Meaning, you will not be able to look through or choose any plan or compare any pricing because there won’t be any. Word is (from CRI’s secret sources) that today was the day Secretary Sebelius was supposed to announce the rates for the states with the federal exchanges, which clearly will not be ready by October 1.
A key component of the law is getting young people to enroll in the exchanges to offset the likihood of older people in the exchanges using more healthcare services. Here are some samples:
Have you met Malik?
Malik is a 23 year old bartender and server who works in the restaurant industry.
He works on his feet all day and like millions of Americans, Malik does not have health insurance because he can’t afford it.
Can’t afford insurance. Can’t afford to miss work.
Malik shared his story with us:
“I hurt my foot pretty bad and I personally thought it was a fracture. I can’t afford to not go to work and not walk on it so I’ve just kind of struggled through it.
If I did have insurance, I would have gone to make sure that it wasn’t worse than I assumed it was.
Without insurance, a serious accident would pretty much turn my life upside down. It would probably set me back for life.
I feel like the Marketplace will help me achieve my goals. It’ll just be a load off my shoulders.”
Then there’s Alejandra:
How the Marketplace helps people like Alejandra
- In the Marketplace, 22 preventive services are available to keep Alejandra healthy at no additional cost. That $300 bill she paid for her checkup could’ve been free.
- If she needs help paying for coverage, she may qualify for lower costs in the Marketplace. Or she can purchase a “catastrophic” health plan available to people under 30 when Open Enrollment begins in October.
- Specific plans and prices will be available on October 1. In the meantime, Alejandra can use this quick calculator to estimate her costs and savings.
- If she has questions about her application for coverage in the Marketplace, she’ll be able to get real-time help in English or Spanish over the phone, in person, or via live web chat.
Clearly the $300 just “disappears” and becomes “free”. Maybe for her, but for the taxpayer, that means more money needs to come out of our pockets.
According to the Manhattan Institute, an associate of CRI, their map says if Alejandra lives in California, she will an extra $34 a month for an individual plan (most likely the silver plan). Which is an extra $408 a year-more than the $300 she paid with no insurance.
She doesn’t live there? Pricing is unfair? If she lives in Oregon, New York, Washington State, Washington DC, Virginia, Vermont, South Dakota, New Mexico, Connecticut, Or Maine, she will pay an increased rate. Even if she lives in New York, Ohio, Colorado, or Rhode Island where rates have decreased, she would still pay no less than $169 a month (Ohio) to get coverage. No Alejandra, who probably has little income, could attempt to enroll in Medicaid or qualify for lots of subsidies for health insurance-which then means her “free” checkup will be passed along to everyone else in the health exchange or the taxpayers.
Of course, the exchanges must be up and running by then to even give Malik and Alejandra a chance to succeed.
12 days is a long time. Stay tuned.
On Friday, September 20, the Delaware State News published the exchange rates for their Choose Health Delaware plan. Expect a future blog post/article from CRI with our response to the plans shortly.