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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

California Unveils Health Plans to Mixed Reactions

Samples of California Rates continued...

The statewide average premium for a 40-year-old will be $219 a month for the lowest-cost bronze plan. For the lowest-cost silver plan, it will be $304 a month.

Here are examples of some expected monthly rates.

  • In Fresno, Kings, and Madera counties, a 25-year-old would pay from $171 a month for the lowest-priced bronze plan (Anthem PPO) to $378 a month for the most expensive platinum plan (Anthem HMO). The lowest-cost silver plan would be $223 a month.
  • A 40-year-old in the same counties would pay from $218 a month for the lowest-cost bronze plan to $481 a month for the most expensive platinum plan. The lowest-cost silver plan would be $284.
  • A family of four in those counties would pay $652 a month for the lowest-cost bronze plan or $1,441 a month for the most expensive platinum plan. The lowest-cost silver plan would be $849 a month.
  • A person under 30 could buy a catastrophic plan for $150 a month.

Subsidies for people with lower incomes will bring costs down further.  For example, a 40-year-old in that region with a yearly income of up to $17,235 would pay only $53 a month out-of-pocket, and federal premium assistance would cover $231 for the Blue Shield PPO silver-level plan. A person making between $22,981 and $28,725 a year would pay $188 a month and subsidies would cover $96 each month.

Even with subsidies, some experts say some people will find the cost of insurance in the state’s Marketplace too high.

"There is going to be sticker shock for some people," says Paul Fronstin, PhD, director of the Health Research & Education Program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, D.C. But he adds that the Marketplace plans offer more coverage and more features than insurance currently available in the individual insurance market.

Fronstin agrees that some people may have been happier with the less comprehensive plan and the lower costs.

Blumberg, however, says some of the higher rates may be temporary. "As it becomes clearer to the insurers who is participating in the Exchange, and how the system is working, I think you will see some of those higher rates coming down," she says.

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