Obamacare Exchange Brings High Healthcare Costs to Ohio

By Mary McCleary

If you plan to purchase health insurance through the Obamacare exchange, expect to pay a lot – that is if you can successfully sign up.  Even a month after the launch of HealthCare.gov, the website is still plagued with bugs much to the embarrassment of President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

As part of the Obamacare roll out, the federal government recently released a list of healthcare plans available to enrollees by state.  The average yearly cost per plan in Ohio is in Table 1 below.  Although catastrophic plans are included in the chart for all age groups, it should be noted that only people under 30 and “some people with limited incomes” are permitted to purchase these low cost options.[1]  Plan types are broken down by categories, which reflect the share of healthcare costs policyholders will pay.[2]  Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, and Gold policyholders will pay more than 40 percent, 40 percent, 30 percent, and 20 percent, respectively, of the share of their medical expenses.

Table 1:  Average Yearly Insurance Cost by Age Group and Plan Type in Ohio[3]

Plan Type*

Child

Age 27

Age 50

Family

Single Parent Family

Couple

Catastrophic

$1,117

$1,843

$3,141

$6,226

$4,230

$4,495

Bronze

$1,568

$2,588

$4,410

$8,741

$5,938

$6,311

Silver

$1,884

$3,109

$5,299

$10,503

$7,136

$7,584

Gold

$2,232

$3,684

$6,279

$12,446

$8,455

$8,986

* Platinum not included to due to its limited availability (only one plan in four counties).

The average Ohio family purchasing a gold plan will pay $12,446 for health insurance premiums through the federal exchange.  The most expensive gold family plan available to Ohioans costs just over $18,000 per year.

The most expensive catastrophic family plans (which families may or may not be allowed to purchase) are available in 11 of the state’s poorest counties in southeastern Ohio.  These plans could cost over $8,000 dollars per year.  Looking at the average prices per family by county, Hocking, Ross, and Pike County residents have the highest premiums in all categories.  (See Table 3 below.)

In spite of the higher prices in poor areas of the state, those with “low” incomes will receive subsidies to help defer the cost of their premiums.  An individual earning up to $45,960 will be eligible for a subsidy as will a family of four whose household income is less than $94,200.[4]  Considering that Ohio’s median household income in 2012 was $44,375, most Ohioans should receive subsidies for the healthcare they purchase through the exchange.[5]

Young adults are expected to experience the biggest increase in premiums.  According to research performed by Jason Hart of Media Trackers, monthly premiums for non-smoking 21-year-old females will increase 168 percent.  Similarly, insurance rates for non-smoking 21-year-old males will increase 203 percent through the Obamacare exchange.[6]

While the increase in costs is bad news for Ohioans, residents of other states will be paying much more for their health insurance.  As the MacIver Institute discovered while performing a similar analysis for Wisconsin, families in the state could pay about $22,000 per year for insurance. [7]  If the information reported on Data.Healthcare.Gov is correct for the state of Virginia, families could pay as much as $6,495 per month or roughly $78,000 per year for health insurance if they choose the most expensive plan.[8]

Compared to other states, the cost of Ohio’s healthcare plans rank near the middle across all categories and age groups.  No matter what age or family demographic one chooses, Ohio’s average cost rankings are the same within the plan type categories.  For example, whether you are 27, 50, a single parent, or a family, Ohio’s average gold option is 16th most expensive out of the 34 states participating in the federal exchange.  (See Table 2 below.)

Despite the information now available regarding Obamacare and the federal exchange, there are still many unknowns.  The rollout of the new healthcare program has been a disaster for the Obama administration.  Between website crashes and other technical glitches that have prevented Americans from signing up, one can only wonder what the next chapter of the Obamacare saga will be.

Table 2:  Average Family Monthly Premiums by State and Category

Catastrophic

Bronze

Silver

Gold

State

Dollars

Rank

Dollars

Rank

Dollars

Rank

Dollars

Rank

AK

$798

3

$1,002

3

$1,210

2

$1,398

2

AL

$463

33

$538

33

$683

33

$859

32

AR

$516

27

$720

16

$910

12

$1,053

13

AZ

$575

13

$750

12

$904

13

$1,039

15

DE

$523

23

$713

17

$846

21

$1,006

20

FL

$593

11

$750

11

$881

16

$976

22

GA

$566

16

$782

8

$935

9

$1,127

10

IA

$522

24

$649

25

$807

23

$913

26

IL

$526

22

$660

24

$877

17

$1,009

18

IN

$604

10

$759

10

$939

8

$1,212

8

KS

$418

34

$575

31

$697

32

$828

33

LA

$518

26

$699

20

$913

11

$1,027

17

ME

$664

6

$828

7

$989

7

$1,270

4

MI

$556

17

$701

19

$894

14

$1,048

14

MO

$489

32

$706

18

$875

19

$1,112

11

MS

$670

5

$856

6

$1,031

5

$1,221

7

MT

$555

18

$619

28

$741

28

$865

30

NC

$511

28

$723

15

$885

15

$1,056

12

ND

$541

19

$674

22

$827

22

$927

24

NE

$491

30

$677

21

$791

26

$895

27

NH

$531

21

$664

23

$802

24

$990

21

NJ

$691

4

$942

4

$1,053

4

$1,241

5

OH

$519

25

$728

14

$875

18

$1,037

16

OK

$490

31

$559

32

$712

31

$885

28

PA

$502

29

$644

26

$740

29

$873

29

SC

$646

8

$732

13

$867

20

$1,009

19

SD

$664

7

$903

5

$1,011

6

$1,238

6

TN

$571

14

$512

34

$666

34

$860

31

TX

$575

12

$603

29

$797

25

$954

23

UT

$538

20

$592

30

$718

30

$812

34

VA

$2,085

1

$2,086

1

$1,685

1

$2,026

1

WI

$621

9

$775

9

$925

10

$1,167

9

WV

$570

15

$634

27

$757

27

$916

25

WY

$986

2

$1,082

2

$1,210

3

$1,374

3

Table 3:  Average Family Monthly Premiums by County and Category

OHIO Catastrophic Bronze Silver Gold Platinum
Counties Dollars Rank Dollars Rank Dollars Rank Dollars Rank Dollars Rank
ADAMS $532 39 $706 69 $858 62 $1,027 61
ALLEN $559 7 $765 17 $933 19 $1,071 32
ASHLAND $490 71 $673 79 $837 75 $993 67
ASHTABULA $503 64 $732 43 $926 22 $1,071 35
ATHENS $541 36 $811 5 $1,009 9 $1,181 5
AUGLAIZE $574 4 $771 14 $945 14 $1,085 26
BELMONT $484 74 $710 60 $878 43 $1,050 43
BROWN $532 39 $706 70 $822 79 $983 77
BUTLER $493 68 $732 42 $834 77 $1,001 64 $770 2
CARROLL $456 87 $654 83 $796 85 $976 78
CHAMPAIGN $543 29 $726 45 $887 40 $1,074 29
CLARK $543 29 $754 30 $895 36 $1,087 25
CLERMONT $532 39 $726 51 $851 70 $1,023 62
CLINTON $532 39 $706 70 $858 60 $1,027 59
COLUMBIANA $451 88 $659 82 $818 80 $969 81
COSHOCTON $532 44 $733 40 $901 33 $1,088 21
CRAWFORD $529 48 $720 53 $889 37 $1,051 41
CUYAHOGA $499 65 $699 76 $852 69 $990 71
DARKE $543 29 $726 48 $887 39 $1,074 29
DEFIANCE $526 55 $707 67 $862 57 $988 72
DELAWARE $545 26 $757 28 $868 53 $1,033 56
ERIE $526 56 $736 35 $911 25 $1,052 37
FAIRFIELD $556 12 $764 27 $905 30 $1,089 18
FAYETTE $556 12 $764 20 $937 17 $1,138 12
FRANKLIN $556 12 $764 20 $905 30 $1,089 18
FULTON $526 50 $707 66 $824 78 $951 86
GALLIA $545 20 $808 6 $1,012 5 $1,173 6
GEAUGA $499 65 $690 78 $835 76 $966 82
GREENE $543 29 $726 45 $857 64 $1,034 53
GUERNSEY $532 44 $733 38 $901 33 $1,088 21
HAMILTON $493 68 $697 77 $800 83 $970 80 $770 2
HANCOCK $559 7 $765 17 $933 19 $1,071 32
HARDIN $559 7 $791 12 $972 12 $1,132 15
HARRISON $484 74 $710 56 $878 43 $1,050 43
HENRY $526 50 $707 68 $862 57 $988 72
HIGHLAND $532 39 $706 70 $858 60 $1,027 59
HOCKING $596 1 $831 3 $1,033 3 $1,214 1
HOLMES $464 84 $654 86 $812 81 $972 79
HURON $526 56 $708 63 $865 55 $984 74
JACKSON $545 20 $808 8 $1,012 5 $1,173 7
JEFFERSON $484 74 $710 56 $878 43 $1,050 43
KNOX $545 25 $757 28 $921 23 $1,106 16
LAKE $499 65 $705 73 $853 68 $993 70
LAWRENCE $545 20 $808 6 $1,012 5 $1,173 7
LICKING $556 12 $764 20 $905 29 $1,089 18
LOGAN $556 12 $764 20 $937 18 $1,138 12
LORAIN $510 62 $701 75 $853 67 $993 66
LUCAS $526 50 $724 52 $851 71 $1,004 63
MADISON $556 12 $764 20 $873 50 $1,043 49
MAHONING $462 85 $662 81 $837 73 $993 68
MARION $543 27 $750 32 $911 24 $1,101 17
MEDINA $482 80 $654 84 $794 86 $948 87
MEIGS $541 36 $804 10 $1,003 10 $1,170 11
MERCER $574 4 $771 14 $945 14 $1,085 27
MIAMI $543 29 $726 48 $857 64 $1,034 53
MONROE $484 74 $710 56 $878 43 $1,050 43
MONTGOMERY $508 63 $754 30 $874 49 $1,052 40 $834 1
MORGAN $484 74 $710 56 $878 43 $1,050 43
MORROW $543 27 $750 33 $860 59 $1,030 57
MUSKINGUM $532 44 $733 40 $901 33 $1,088 21
NOBLE $484 74 $710 60 $878 43 $1,050 43
OTTAWA $526 56 $708 63 $865 54 $984 74
PAULDING $559 7 $791 12 $972 12 $1,132 14
PERRY $532 44 $733 38 $901 32 $1,088 21
PICKAWAY $556 12 $764 20 $873 50 $1,043 49
PIKE $594 2 $832 2 $1,037 2 $1,207 3
PORTAGE $482 80 $654 84 $800 84 $955 85
PREBLE $543 29 $726 48 $857 63 $1,034 53
PUTNAM $559 7 $765 17 $933 19 $1,071 32
RICHLAND $529 48 $720 53 $889 37 $1,051 42
ROSS $594 2 $837 1 $1,038 1 $1,213 2
SANDUSKY $526 56 $736 34 $911 25 $1,052 37
SCIOTO $545 20 $815 4 $1,016 4 $1,183 4
SENECA $526 56 $708 63 $865 55 $984 74
SHELBY $543 29 $726 45 $887 40 $1,074 29
STARK $467 83 $640 88 $771 88 $945 88
SUMMIT $482 80 $720 55 $887 42 $1,037 52
TRUMBULL $462 85 $662 80 $837 73 $993 68
TUSCARAWAS $488 72 $703 74 $837 72 $1,027 58
UNION $556 12 $764 20 $873 50 $1,043 49
VAN WERT $574 4 $771 16 $945 14 $1,085 27
VINTON $545 20 $808 8 $1,012 5 $1,173 7
WARREN $493 68 $708 62 $801 82 $956 84 $770 2
WASHINGTON $541 36 $804 11 $1,003 10 $1,170 10
WAYNE $484 73 $647 87 $794 87 $958 83
WILLIAMS $526 50 $736 37 $907 28 $1,057 36
WOOD $526 50 $730 44 $855 66 $997 65
WYANDOT $526 56 $736 35 $911 25 $1,052 37

[1] U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “HealthCare.gov: Getting Lower Costs on Coverage,” at https://www.healthcare.gov/getting-lower-costs-on-coverage/ (November 1, 2013).

[2] U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “HealthCare.gov:  Get Plan Information in Your Area,” at https://www.healthcare.gov/find-premium-estimates/#7/&aud=indv&type =med& state=OH&county=Franklin&cov=self&age=49andUnder (November 1, 2013).

[3] U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “Data.HealthCare.gov:  QHP Individual Medical Landscape,” at https://data.healthcare.gov/dataset/QHP-Individual-Medical-Landscape/ba45-xusy (November 1, 2013).

[4] U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “HealthCare.gov:  Will I qualify for lower costs on monthly premiums?” at https://www.healthcare.gov/will-i-qualify-to-save-on-monthly-premiums/ (November 1, 2013).

[5] Mary McCleary, “Ohio Families Losing Ground as Incomes Fall,” Opportunity Ohio, October 29, 2013, at http://www.opportunityohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ Ohio-Families-Losing-Ground.pdf (November 1, 2013).

[6] Jason Hart, “Obamacare Bringing Less Choice, Higher Costs to Ohio,” Media Trackers Ohio, October 28, 2013, at http://mediatrackers.org/ohio/2013/10/28/obamacare-higher-premiums-less-choice (November 1, 2013).

[7] MacIver Institute, “Obamacare Premiums Could Cost a Family up to $22,000 a Year for a Platinum Plan,” October 22, 2013, at http://www.maciverinstitute.com/2013/10/rates-for-every-obamacare-plan-in-the-state-and-country-released/ (November 1, 2013).

[8] U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “Data.HealthCare.gov:  QHP Individual Medical Landscape,” https://data.healthcare.gov/dataset/QHP-Individual-Medical-Landscape/ba45-xusy (November 1, 2013).