South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
12/19/13 - 8:00 am
“Plaid Tidings” is a bit of Christmas nostalgia featuring music from the golden age of the Holiday Special. Many of you will remember the wonderful times watching the Perry Como…
12/19/13 - 7:59 am
12/19/13 - 7:56 am
12/19/13 - 8:34 am
The Halifax County High School boys’ basketball team improved to 4-2 on the season with a 63-42 win over Tunstall Tuesday.
- More A&E
New insurance exchanges take shape in Halifax
SoVaNow.com / September 26, 2013With less than a week to go before the debut of Virginia’s new health insurance exchange, early indications point to lower-than-expected costs for individual plans.
The exchange opens next Tuesday, Oct. 1, with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. In Virginia, lawmakers opted not to create a state-level market exchange, instead leaving the task to the federal government. Virginians looking to purchase health insurance through the exchange can visit http://www.healthcare.org to see their options.
Policies offered through the exchange will go in effect starting Jan. 1.
In Halifax County, five issuers will offer 68 qualified health insurance plans. Policies come in five basic flavors: catastrophic, with high deductibles and low premiums, available to young adults and those who cannot afford other options; bronze (covering 60 percent of medical costs); silver (70 percent); gold (80 percent); and platinum (90 percent). Bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans all offer the same package of benefits — including preventative care, primary care physician visits, prescription drug coverage and other services — with varying levels of cost sharing between the insurer and customer.
To hold down the share of their income going towards health care, purchasers of plans through the exchange will be eligible for federal tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, based on how much a person makes. Tax credits are available on a sliding income scale up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $94,000 for a family of four. The tax credits will be paid directly to the issuer, lowering monthly premiums for individual policyholders.
“Locally, we’re going to see a lot of people qualify for these subsidies, and it’s going to make a lot of difference for people who haven’t had insurance before,” said Kelly Ballance with Pulliam Insurance Company, which is representing four companies — Aetna, Anthem, Coventry and Optima — that are selling plans locally through the exchange.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in a report released Wednesday, provided the first concrete data on prices that Virginians can expect to pay for insurance purchased through the exchange. In Halifax County (part of Rating Area 12), a 27-year-old who wanted catastrophic insurance would pay $101.39 per month for the lowest-cost option. The second lowest-cost silver plan would carry a $218.64 monthly premium at the same age.
If the 27-year-old made $25,000 per year, tax subsidies would lower the silver plan premium to around $145 per month. A bronze-level plan, with higher out-of-pocket costs, would cost around $93 a month, after the tax credit.
HHS also offered pricing information using the example of a family of four with a household income of $50,000. In Virginia, on average, the monthly premium for the second lowest-cost silver plan, after tax credits, is $282 per month. The premium for the lowest-cost bronze plan is $48 per month, after the credit.
(In the analysis, a family of four is defined as one 40-year-old adult, one 38-year-old adult, and two children under the age of 18)
On the whole, premiums for health insurance offered through the Affordable Care Act exchanges will cost 16 percent less than initially projected by the Congressional Budget Office, according to HHS. The agency also reports that nearly all consumers — about 95 percent — will have a choice of two or more health insurance issuers and live in states where average premiums are below original estimates.
“After taking tax credits into account, fifty-six percent of uninsured Americans (nearly 6 in 10) may qualify for health coverage in the Marketplace for less than $100 per person per month,” notes HHS — adding the caveat that this statement applies in states that have agreed to expand their Medicaid programs, another key provision of the Affordable Care Act. Virginia is still considering whether to expand its Medicaid program, the cost of which would be borne by the federal government.
The exact workings of the health care exchange won’t be known until the Tuesday rollout, and some experts are predicting kinks in the system in the early going. Ballance noted that her firm expects to receive price information for plans on Friday, just a few days before the exchange opens, although she added everything should be ready to go by Tuesday.
While health insurance exchanges are often likened to a “virtual marketplace,” with plans and pricing information on-line, individuals who are uncomfortable with the process can go through local agents to receive the same benefits. “We hope we can help people navigate it all a little better,” said Ballance.
More information: http://aspe.hhs.gov/
CommentsDon't mess with little Johnny! http://www.dailypaul.com/300332/little-johnny-masters-obamacare
- By Gut Buster on 09 / 26 / 13
CommentsIf you end up with virtual healthcare purchased from that virtual marketplace, do you think the insurance companies will accept virtual payments?
- By Inquisitive on 09 / 26 / 13
CommentsPeople are going to need a cheap insurance. They won't be able to afford anything else with their new 29 hour work week. No one can say Obomber has not stimulated the economy. Just ask gun and ammo dealers and insurance companies. Hey that's a good idea for a new business "Bullets and Bandaids"!
- By Bright Idea on 09 / 26 / 13
CommentsThis is all smoke an mirrors. My health plan charges me 1250 a month for a family plan. Now with Obama care, I cannot get health insurance for my family elsewhere and get this I won't qualify for credits either. When the government looks at the cost, it looks at the individual cost, not a family cost, so if the plan for just us is less the 9.5% of your income you will get a break, but I am paying 1250 for my family and Nogood obama has not outlawed me going to other places and getting insurance for my wife and kids. SO how is this going to lower prices. News & record is nothing but a libtard rag.
- By allpolitical2 on 09 / 27 / 13
News & Record
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