05 Oct 2013 Fun With ObamaCare Exchanges: Colorado Version
Colorado’s exchange, Connect For Health Colorado, has a function that allows you to shop for policies without first setting up an account. To see it, go here and then select “Find a Plan.” I gave it a test run by entering a date-of-birth in 1984—i.e., age 29—, 1 person to be covered, and zip code 80224 (Denver). Here are the top three results from the search in order of cheapest premium:
The cheapest plan listed is a $148 a month catastrophic plan for which subsidies are not available. The cheapest policy for which there are possible subsidies is the $163 a month Bronze plan. So, let’s see how these compare to plans on ehealthinsurance.com. Here are the three cheapest plans for a 29-year-old male using zip code 80224:
The results show that 11 plans on ehealthinsurance.com cost less than the cheapest catastrophic plan on the Colorado exchange and 18 plans that cost less than the cheapest Bronze plan. (Full results for ehealthinsurance.com search are here). Additionally, there are three plans with both lower premiums and deductibles than the cheapest catastrophic plan and four such plans compared to the cheapest Bronze plan.
Next I re-ran the ehealthinsurance.com search with the same information except that I changed “male” to “female:. Here are the three cheapest plans:
For a 29-year-old female in Denver there are nine plans that are cheaper than the lowest-cost catastrophic plan and 18 that cost lest than the Bronze. There are the same number of plans with both lower premiums and deductibles as there are a for a male. (Full results here.)
In short, the comparison shows that there are 20 plans cheaper than the lowest-cost catastrophic plan on the Colorado exchange and 36 plans that cost less than the cheapest Bronze plan.
A few other notes: First, if you rearrange the ehealthinsurance.com results by “best sellers”, the third best seller is the plan with the lowest premium, $74.70. For someone age 29 going who has that plan and goes onto the Colorado exchange will experience a premium increase of 98%. I think 98% should fit just about anyone’s definition of “rate shock.”
Finally, the 29-year-old Denver resident will need a subsidy of about $88 to make the lowest cost Bronze plan equal to the lowest cost ehealthinsurance.com plan (Bronze – ehealth = subsidy needed, or $163 – $74.70 $88). To qualify for that level of subsidy an individual cannot make more than $23,817 annually. For all you 29-year-olds who make more than than and have that $74.70 plan: TOUGH LUCK!