[NOTE: Lots of updates below.]
Oops, never mind, says Emily Litella.
By the way—why didn’t the government site just borrow this calculator, the one I’ve been using in my post-rollout reseach? It seems to work just fine, and gets the right premium figure for the 62-year-old subsidy-ineligible woman featured in the piece.
They’re fools or knaves, probably both, no doubt about it. This is absolutely basic: premiums vary depending on age, even with Obamacare. The only state in which they don’t (as far as I know) is good old Vermont, where everyone is equal, holding hands and singing Kumbaya as they eat their Ben and Jerry’s:
Vermont now has the fifth highest health insurance premiums in the country, in part because of state regulations limiting competition. There’s no reason to believe that will improve, as only two companies are offering plans under the exchange. At this stage, unsubsidized rates in the exchange have increased considerably. Any models showing a decrease in premiums are based on a high percentage of enrollees qualifying for subsidies. In addition, the viability of that model is dependent on a large number of the young and healthy paying into the system.
Vermont utilizes the “community rating” method to determine health insurance premiums. The intention of this method is to ensure that rates on particular policies are the same for everyone regardless of age or health. That means that a 57-year-old man will pay the same rate for an individual policy as a 27-year-old woman. Good for the 57-year-old man, not so good for the 27-year-old woman. Cynthia Cox, a health-care economist at the Kaiser Family Foundation, explains, “Younger people will have higher premiums in Vermont than they might if they lived elsewhere, whereas older people might have lower premiums than if they lived elsewhere.”
In other words, without a pool of younger, healthier participants, it’s difficult for any insurance plan to survive.
[Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.]
[ADDENDUM: It seems that another state with community rating re age is New York. Several other states limit how wide the variation between premium prices for young and old can be. Obamacare limits this ratio as well. But all states except New York and Vermont vary premium prices based on age, with younger people paying less, for obvious reasons. New York is better off than Vermont in this regard because its population is younger and Vermont’s older. See this for much more about Vermont’s unique problems.]
[ADDENDUM II: This pending court case has the potential to throw a large monkey wrench into the Obamacare works. I find it hard to believe that it will actually end up doing so, though, even (or especially) if it goes to the Supreme Court.]
[ADDENDUM III: Does this mean they’ll all apologize to Ted Cruz, the terrorist? Nah, not so much:
CNN reporter Dana Bash tweets “new: senior dem source tells me to expect every sen dem running in 2014 to back @JeanneShaheen proposal to delay #ACA enrollment deadline.”
Just a little while back they were refusing to delay the mandate as the Republicans asked. Now they’re begging for it. I wonder what changed :-).
Bryan Preston remarks:
A unified Republican Party could make great use of this turn of events. Let’s see how the actual Republican Party handles it.]