White House pushes new Obamacare cost figures for young Americans
October 28th, 2013
08:45 PM ET
9 months ago

White House pushes new Obamacare cost figures for young Americans

(CNN) - The White House tried to woo young Americans into the new health exchanges Monday night, releasing a study suggesting nearly half of eligible Americans between 18 and 34 can purchase coverage for less than $50 per month.

The study also helps to push back against consumer tales of Obamacare sticker shock and frustration of some Americans that their current health plans can't continue under the new law.

But one insurance industry source told CNN the vast majority of Americans on the individual insurance market will see modifications to their existing plans, or even cancellations.

For months Obama administration officials have asserted that in order for the new exchanges to be a success, roughly 40 percent of the customers needed to be young and healthy.

Released Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services, the study helps back up Obama's pitch to those consumers that insurance will cost less than their cell phone bill.

The study analyzes population and premium data to conclude that of the 2.9 million single, uninsured young adults who may be eligible to enter the federally-run marketplaces, 1.3 million could likely purchase the most basic, bronze-level insurance plan for less than $50 a month.

Additionally, the study finds that nearly 7 in 10, or 1.9 million, may be able to pay less than $100 a month.

Bronze plans are required to cover 60 percent of an individual's medical costs, and in many coverage areas they are the cheapest plans available.

Plans differ depending where an individual lives, and while monthly premiums may be relatively affordable, in some cases annual deductibles can be steep resulting in high out-of-pocket costs if they get sick.

Someone is deemed eligible to enter the exchange if they are an uninsured U.S. citizen or legal resident with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid in their state. Individuals with incomes below those levels will be referred to their state Medicaid agency's to obtain coverage.

But according to the industry source with knowledge of the implementation of Obamacare, many Americans, especially those with high deductible, catastrophic care policies will see drastic changes.

As new minimum requirements for their plans take effect next year, modifications and even cancellations may become necessary for those and other consumers, the source said.

Some plans are going to be so different, the source added it may be easier to cancel those policies and then offer new coverage under Obamacare.

In many cases those policies will offer greater coverage, but at a higher price.

"Starting next year, all policies are required to cover a broad range of benefits, some of which are not in plans consumers choose to purchase today," said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans. "There's going to be a wide variation of impacts."

"For some people, the coverage they have today is going to be changed to cover the new requirements," Zirkelbach said.

One thing the insurance industry source did say is that unlike the pre-Obamacare era, consumers who lose coverage now have options. They will, in theory, be able to buy coverage under Obamacare and in some cases receive subsidies.

Also, the administration on Monday formally clarified that if Americans buy insurance during the open-enrollment period - through March 31 - they will not be subject to any penalty or fine.

CNN's Jim Acosta contributed to this report.


Filed under: Healthcare • Obamacare • White House
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. ED1

    Right with a $50,000 deductible.

    October 28, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    I'm 23 and the cheapest plan is $150...How exactly am I suppose to afford $1800 in insurance? I'm sticking with the $285 opt out penalty.

    October 28, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Republicans will soon realize they are on the wrong side of history again, and stop the inane attacks on a website. Some have posted that they are not happy that they will lose their junk plan that had a low monthly payment, but would not cover them is they needed care. Under law, people are losing those worthless plans, and they will be replaced with actual policies that protect the insured.

    October 28, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  4. freedom

    Liar...liar...liar....this president has no credibility...whoever believes anything he says is not facing reality.

    October 28, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  5. HenryMiller

    "The study also helps to push back against consumer tales of Obamacare sticker shock and frustration..."

    Lie and spin, lie and spin...

    October 28, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    This is nothing but a SCAM!

    October 28, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  7. Scott

    Putin says he'll go to the United Nations and get a ruling that authorizes Obama to just take money from rich people to pay for poor people's healthcare with no need for Healthcare.gov.

    Problem solved.

    October 29, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  8. Hal

    I lost my coverage because of obama care and under the exchange a similar policy will cost 20% more. So, obama lied. Period.

    October 29, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  9. Marie MD

    Not to worry the rethugs just hired a 23 year old nobody to bring in the youth by . . . .
    "Basically, Echols's job will be to convince young voters that Republicans aren't anti-gay, anti-immigrant, or anti-21st century, and then, once he accomplishes that, his job will be to convince those same voters that it's just a coincidence that GOP policies are perfectly consistent with a party that is anti-gay, anti-immigrant, and anti-21st century. Then, and only then, will his achievement be groundbreaking, because he'll have achieved the impossible."
    They start them lying young, don't they? Good luck.

    October 29, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |