Report on NY insurance costs is another shibboleth

From the NYT :

Individuals buying health insurance on their own will see their premiums tumble next year in New York State as changes under the federal health care law take effect, state officials are to announce on Wednesday.

State insurance regulators say they have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower.

Some thoughts on this:

1) People need to note that the $1000 figure is for NYC, and not NY state. People in the city pay way more than people outside the city.

2) That’s sort of the point. People in NYC will now be treated more like all other people. And so, their premiums drop. In fact, their premiums drop below the old state average of $357 in 2010.

3) NY state had a somewhat regulated market already, without the individual mandate. So they had the adverse selection that comes from that. It’s one of the reasons insurance was expensive there. So the addition of healthy people to the market will bring the average cost down. That’s why the mandate (or something like it) is important.

4) This won’t prevent some from pointing out (correctly) that the “bros” could have (maybe) bought crappy plans for cheaper than $308 on a website in the past. Premium shock!

The purpose of the ACA remains the same. Everyone, even those with chronic illnesses, will be able to get insurance (often with subsidies) on the individual market at a comparable rate. For many, if not most, this will be a vast improvement. For some, it will be a premium increase, although likely for better insurance coupled with the promise that if they do get sick or get older, this will one day be a bargain.

How you view this is likely dependent on your political lens. Own it.


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