Obamacare Bringing Higher Costs, Less Choice to Ohio

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Health insurance premiums are set to skyrocket for young Ohioans with the implementation of Obamacare, based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and estimated pre-Obamacare rates from eHealth.

Currently, a 21-year-old female nonsmoker in central Ohio can choose between 25 different policies from various carriers with monthly premiums less than $100 listed at eHealthInsurance.com. A 21-year-old male nonsmoker in central Ohio can choose from 43 different policies with premiums of less than $100 per month.

For both men and women, eHealth lists 70 different policies from 5 different carriers. Options can easily be sorted by popularity, deductible, or monthly premium, and details for each policy are available online.

The cheapest available plan for a 21-year-old female nonsmoker is $41.68 monthly, with a $10,000 deductible and no covered office visits. A UnitedHealthOne plan with a $2,500 deductible and $35 office visit copay is $86.55 per month — and prior to Obamacare, Americans can also choose to purchase no health insurance without paying a fine to the federal government.

For a 21-year-old male nonsmoker, the cheapest premium in central Ohio is $35.79 per month. Three different UnitedHealthOne policies with deductibles of less than $1,500 are available for less than $100 per month.

Under Obamacare, the cheapest monthly Catastrophic plan premium for a 21-year-old in Ohio is $108.57. The lowest Bronze premium is $145.02, the lowest Silver premium is $169.15, and the lowest Gold premium is $192.92.

Obamacare’s metal tiers correspond to the total percentage of health care costs policyholders will pay: 40 percent for Bronze, 30 percent for Silver, 20 percent for Gold, and 10 percent for Platinum.

Deductibles and other basic information are not readily available, but HealthCare.gov does explain that Catastrophic plans won’t even be an option for Americans over 30 except in special circumstances and with government permission.

Preexisting conditions will be covered, but all Ohioans will be stuck paying for a federally-defined set of benefits and everyone will be taxed so poor individuals can have subsidies for Obamacare’s much higher premiums.

In short, Obamacare tackles the problems with America’s heavily-regulated, employer-dependent health insurance market by making most of them worse.

Comparing the cheapest available current policy to the Catastrophic plan under Obamacare, monthly premiums for 21-year-old female nonsmokers in Ohio will increase by 160 percent. Comparing a lower-deductible plan to the Bronze plan under Obamacare, premiums will increase by 68 percent.

Premiums for 21-year-old male nonsmokers will increase by up to 203 percent under Obamacare, based on the absolute lowest Obamacare premium provided by HHS — and this is when giving Obamacare plans the benefit of a doubt by comparing Obamacare’s cheapest statewide premium to current rates from Franklin County.

Adult insurance premiums increase with the age of the individual covered, and Obamacare plans will be far more costly than those currently available to most Ohioans in their 20s.

Individuals in their early 30s should also expect to pay more once President Obama’s 2010 health law takes effect. For a 31-year-old Ohioan, HHS lists $168.08 as the cheapest Obamacare Bronze premium.

For 31-year-old female nonsmokers in central Ohio, there are currently 5 different policies with deductibles of $1,500 or less and monthly premiums under $164 listed at eHealth. Male 31-year-old nonsmokers can choose from 7 plans with deductibles of $1,500 or less, as well as 1 plan with a $500 deductible, with lower premiums than the least-expensive Obamacare Bronze plan.

A separate HealthCare.gov premium estimator tool lists only 34 plans from 4 carriers in Franklin County, Ohio, and the cheapest is more than $150 per month. Future Media Trackers coverage will investigate rates for specific counties using the latest estimates from HealthCare.gov.

Even setting aside the premium increases many Ohioans will face, the mere process of trying to determine premiums under Obamacare demonstrates the folly of a federally-controlled health insurance industry.

While supporters of socialized medicine continue making excuses for the abject failure that is HealthCare.gov, eHealth has been selling policies online since 1998.

Nearly a month after its vaunted launch, HealthCare.gov requires Americans to create user accounts that routinely do not work and requires private data to retrieve policy information that is often wrong. Pro-Obamacare Consumer Reports recently advised readers to “Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can.”

Meanwhile, eHealthInsurance.com — owned by a private company that has been traded on Nasdaq since 2006 — allows individuals to see premium estimates and policy details in seconds based on gender, birth date, and tobacco use.

Additionally, on October 22 a U.S. District Court judge allowed a major lawsuit against Obamacare to proceed. Should the plaintiffs prevail, the federal government would be unable to issue subsidies and enforce penalties in Ohio and the other states with federally-run Obamacare exchanges.