With days to go before the Oct. 1 launch of Obamacare health exchanges, the administration released prices for insurance plans Wednesday, with Americans paying an average premium of $328 monthly for a mid-tier plan.
Most will qualify for government subsidies to lower that price, the Obama administration said on Wednesday.
The $328 figure is based on data for approved insurance plans in 48 states.
The prices of the new plans are a source of continued political debate over whether the Affordable Care Act’s sweeping changes will live up to the law’s name and become “affordable” enough for the uninsured.
“Individuals and families with household incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, who are not eligible for certain other types of coverage, may qualify for tax credits to make premiums more affordable,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
For an individual, the federal poverty level tops out at about $45,000 per year, and for a family of four, this cuts off at around $94,000 a year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Here are examples from the administration:
- In Texas, an average 27-year-old with income of $25,000 could pay $145 per month for the second lowest cost silver plan, $133 for the lowest cost silver plan, and $83 for the lowest cost bronze plan after tax credits.
- For a family of four in Texas with an income of $50,000, they could pay $282 per month for the second lowest cost silver plan, $239 for the lowest silver plan, and $57 per month for the lowest bronze plan after tax credits.
HHS is hoping to sign up seven million Americans in its first 12 months — including 2.7 million younger and, most significantly, healthier participants who can offset the higher costs of older policyholders.
On average, there are 8 different health insurance issuers participating in each of the 36 Marketplaces included in the HHS analysis. This ranges from a low of 1 issuer to a high of 13 issuers within a state.
About 95 percent of the non-elderly population in these 36 states lives in rating areas with 2 or more issuers. Roughly one in four issuers is offering health plans in the individual market for the first time in 2014.
Here is more information on the upcoming Health Exchange Marketplace.