Supporters of ObamaCare have come up with some clever ways of making the premiums on the ObamaCare exchanges look quite good. For example, one common refrain found in this HHS report was repeated endlessly by the media: “Premiums before tax credits will be more than 16 percent lower than projected.”
However, that is a comparison of the exchange premiums to the model created by the Congressional Budget Office to estimate premiums. In other words, it is not a comparison of exchange premiums to premiums currently in existence.
Another way of making exchange premiums look good is to compare those in one state to those in other states, as Joy Wilson of the National Conference of State Legislatures told the Idaho Legislature:
She offered some figures for a 27-year-old, before any tax credits: For the lowest “bronze” level benefit plan, the average was $163 a month; Idaho’s rate is $150. For the lowest silver plan, average was $203, Idaho’s is $182; and for the lowest gold-level plan, average is $240 and Idaho’s rate is $211. For catastrophic plans, Idaho was slightly above the average for a 27-year-old, at $134, compared to $129.
Well, that method works as long as you are in a state that is near or below average. That wouldn’t work so well in Indiana or Alaska given the numbers in the report.
So, let’s compare Idaho ObamaCare exchange prices to those on ehealthinsurance for a single, childless 27-year-old earning $25,000. According to page 9 of the report, in Boise, Idaho the lowest catastrophic plan is $128 for a 27-year-old, while the lowest Bronze plan is $145, and the lowest Bronze plan with a subsidy is $101. Here are three cheapest plans from ehealthinsurance.com for a 27-year-old male living in the zip code 83704:
Here are the full results for a 27-year-old male in Boise. There are 48 policies cheaper than the lowest cost catastrophic plan, 57 that are cheaper than the lowest cost Bronze plan, and 23 that cost less than the Bronze with subsidy.
Here are the ehealthinsurance.com results from a 27-year-old female in Boise:
The full results for the a 27-year-old female show that there are 22 policies that cost less than the lowest cost catastrophic plan, 32 that cost less than the cheapest Bronze plan, and 8 that are cheaper than the Bronze plan with a subsidy.
In total, there are 70 plans on ehealthinsurance.com cheaper than the catastrophic plan, 89 that are cheaper than the Bronze, and 31 that cost less than the Bronze with subsidy for those single, age 27 and making $25,000 in Boise, Idaho.
Final note: I also checked what subsidy a 27-year-old in Boise making $30,000 would get. At that income level he or she is not eligible for a subsidy since the amount of his own money he would have to put toward the premium (the applicable percentage) exceeds the amount of the second-lowest cost Silver premium.