Estimated health care premiums available to Florida residents through the Health Insurance Marketplace open online Tuesday, Oct. 1. The White House has published and revealed overall lower than expected insurance costs for large numbers of U.S. citizens shopping for health care policies. Figures for Floridians reveal many individuals and families with modest incomes will be able to get health coverage in an affordable $100 to $200 per month range. That’s once they figure in the associated tax credit legislated in the Affordable Care Act.
Florida residents will be able to choose from an average of 102 qualifying health care programs to start with on Oct. 1. The lowest premiums for a 27-year-old person before tax credits are estimated to be $169 monthly for bronze coverage, $200 for silver and $229 for gold. Catastrophic health insurance premiums will start from $132 monthly. These figures are calculated based on weighted averages across the entire state.
Under the ACA, qualified health plans each fall into one of four tiers, or “metal levels”, according to the actuarial value of the plan. A bronze plan typically has an actuarial value of 60 percent coverage of health costs, a silver plan 70 percent, gold 80 percent and platinum 90 percent.
Officially the new marketplace at healthcare.gov becomes operational on Oct. 1. Actual coverage under health care programs offered in the marketplace will begin on Jan. 1, 2014.
In the Miami-Hialeah area, an average of 137 qualifying health programs will be available online. Premiums are expected to run $163 monthly for the lowest-cost bronze coverage, $202 for the lowest silver, $239 for the lowest gold, and $109 for catastrophic health insurance.
In the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area, an average of 102 qualifying health programs will be available. Premiums are expected to run $167 for the lowest-cost bronze coverage, $189 for the lowest silver, $218 for the lowest gold, and $129 for catastrophic care.
In the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood-Pompano Beach area, an average of 132 qualifying health programs will be available. Premiums are expected to run $128 for the lowest cost bronze coverage, $174 for the lowest silver, $189 for the lowest gold, and $86 for catastrophic care.
Tax credits for lower income individuals are estimated to reduce effective costs for health coverage substantially. The second-lowest silver coverage premium is estimated to run $218 monthly for a 27-year-old. If that person is earning an annual income of $25,000 per year then that premium will be reduced to a cost of $145 after their tax credit. The lowest premium for bronze coverage for that same person after the tax credit would be $96.
Drawing the same comparison for a family of four with an annual income of $50,000, the second lowest silver premium would come to $789 monthly before the tax credit, but would fall to $282 monthly after the tax credit. The lowest premium for bronze coverage for that family after the tax credit would come to $104.
Simple explanatory information about the benefits of the marketplace and the ACA, known as “Obamacare”, have been posted on the White House website under “What Obamacare Means for You” . Methodology for these estimates was developed and is documented by the office of the asst. secretary for planning and evaluation of the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Editor’s note: A previous edit of this article erroneously cited the day of the week as Monday. This has been corrected. Thank you for your faithful readership.