In New Hampshire only one insurer will sell through the exchange in the entire state. In the Detroit region, on the other hand, 11 carriers will sell subsidized policies. In Phoenix, 10 will.
— The number of available plans, another indicator of choice, also varies. Residents of Oviedo, in eastern Florida, will have 181 polices offered by six insurers to pick from. In Oshkosh, Wis., consumers can choose from 181 plans sold by eight companies. But only seven policies from one insurer will be available in most parts of Alabama. St. Louis residents can pick from 23 policies offered by two insurers.
— There is a paucity of platinum plans. Under the metal ratings, platinum policies are the most expensive. They cover 90 percent of average medical expenses after you pay the premium.
Policymakers predicted lower-level bronze and silver plans would prove more popular than gold and platinum, and it looks like insurance companies think so, too.
While in parts of Florida and Wisconsin you can choose from more than a dozen platinum plans, in 40 percent the regions included in the federal database there are no platinum policies. Insurers are putting their energy into plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.
— There are wide variations in prices, even for similar policies sold in the same state. In Tucson, Ariz., the lowest-cost bronze plan for a 21-year-old is $114 a month. But in several rural Arizona counties a bronze plan costs $164. In Missouri bronze plans for a 21-year-old range from $140 a month to $219.
— Other things being equal, you'd rather be an uninsured oil hand in Oklahoma than an uninsured cheese maker in Wisconsin. In western Wisconsin areas bordering St. Paul, Minn., the cheapest bronze policy for a 21-year-old is $301 a month. That's the highest in the federal database. In Comanche County, Okla., (Fort Sill), a similar plan costs $96. That's the lowest.
Jordan Rau contributed.
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Thu, Sep 26 2013