Blog PostSeptember 18, 2013

The Affordable Care Act: Feels like $100 Bucks

Millions Will Pay $100/Month for Health Care. But at What Cost?

Any headline that reads “For millions, insurance will cost less than $100/month” is sure to make the Affordable Care Act sound helpful, rather than harmful. Especially when it was reported just one day earlier that 76% of Americans said in a poll they don’t even understand the new federal health law in the first place.

The eye-grabbing $100/month figure introduced a USA TODAY piece about a government report on the new health exchanges due to begin enrollment Oct. 1, mostly for the so-called “silver” plans:

“About 6.4 million Americans  eligible to buy insurance through the new health exchanges will pay $100 or less a month in premiums because of tax subsidies, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report to be released Tuesday and obtained by USA TODAY.”

Of course this is going to sound great. That’s because nowhere in the article does the writer explain who is going to pay the rest of the health insurance premiums for these $100/month individuals.

What the article and most of the media continue to omit is that on these “new health exchanges”, the government will pick up the tab for the leftover cost –  Up to $5,290 per person in 2014 in subsidies.

And who picks up the tab for subsidies? Taxpayers.

With less than two weeks before these new health exchanges set to open up for enrollment, we will see more and more reports trying to spin the law into something positive:

“The health care law is making health insurance more affordable,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “With more than half of all uninsured Americans able to get coverage at $100 or less, the health care law is delivering the quality, affordable coverage people are looking for.”

But the question remains: At what cost?