Obamacare Exchanges Vs. Employer Health Insurance | Bankrate.com.
If you already have health insurance through your job, you’re probably wondering whether Obamacare will give you some new options. Will you be able to comparison-shop for a plan on the new online exchanges that might be better than your employer health insurance? The answer is a big, resounding “maybe.”
Well, in almost all cases the answer is “no” if your employer is offering major medical coverage.
Here’s the big hiccup: Unless your employer’s coverage for an individual is considered unaffordable under the law (that is, if your share of the premiums costs more than 9.5 percent of your household income) or inadequate (picking up less than 60 percent of the cost of covered benefits), you aren’t eligible for a government subsidy to help pay for your insurance. Subsidies are one of the things that can make plans on the new state exchanges appealing.
And if you’re not eligible for a government subsidy, the cost of coverage through the “Marketplace”, the politically correct term for “exchange”, is going to be high, as many are finding out.
Of course shopping and comparing SHOULD be SIMPLE. For exchanges that are run by the states, that may be the case. For example, in Colorado it’s very easy to shop without registering. You can even get an accurate estimate of your subsidy and receive quotes with the premium adjusted for your subsidy. ALL WITHOUT REGISTERING!!!
The government exchange, Healthcare.gov, which covers 37 states does NOT allow you to browse. In fact, you can’t see plans and pricing to the very last step of the process. This is detailed by Avik Roy in his Forbes colum: Crashing Because It Doesn’t Want You To Know How Costly Its Plans Are
A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping. This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.
HHS didn’t want users to see Obamacare’s true costs
“Healthcare.gov was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.” (Emphasis added.)
I don’t see how you can argue this conclusion.