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Illinois health care exchange costs are more than triple the initial estimate

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On the Illinois heath care exchange, a consumers’ average total Obamacare law cost of a premium could be more than triple or even four times the monthly payments to carriers, according to a report by Crain’s Chicago Business on Monday. In spite of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s former claim, on Sept. 24, 2013, that the state’s exchange offers low premiums, the data does not appear to be low at all.

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The Crain’s report says that persons – particularly the “young invincible” in Illinois - may be shocked by the out-of-pocket costs they are going to incur when abiding by the federal mandate to have insurance.

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Culminating the data around a typical 27-year-old in Cook County, a persons who buys the bare-minimum and most-common plan could spend as much as $8,710 a year on health care. That amount is more than three times the annual premium – after the inclusion of co-pays and deductibles. Reportedly, some plans’ out-of-pocket spending could even be in excess of four times the annual premium. Naturally, the cost to the health care consumer is dependent on one’s actual medical bills. But, in addition to the premium cost, medical bills - which are typically low-costing for young adults - can be catastrophic with a major illness or an accident.

As President Barack Obama has done with the federal Affordable Care Act, Gov. Quinn of Illinois has delayed a few key requirements of the Obamacare law in Illinois for one year – after the public’s extreme discontent over the cancellations of persons’ current policies which were found to have been quite cheaper.

Unfortunately, persons must purchase a policy within the next two weeks – before the holiday – which involves approximately 500,000 consumers and small businesses. Enrollment for the law’s program is via the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. Illinois officials have admits that Gov. Quinn’s administration has not studied the total cost to Illinois consumers of plans that are being sold on the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace exchange.

Crain asserts, however, that premiums on the exchange are much higher than “bare-bones” plans - which will be phased out in one year anyway. In accumulating their data for Crain's assertions, Crain looked at applications submitted by insurers to Illinois as well as to the federal government’s’s exchange and analyzed 71 plans that are offered in Chicago’s Cook County by five carriers. The analysis focused on 27-year-olds, included in the 18-to-34 year old group who are essential to the program’s financial success – since they are needed to counterbalance older persons or people with chronic illnesses.

It must be considered that out-of-pocket spending increases until the deductible is reached by a health care insurance purchaser. And even after that deductible is reached, a great many plans still require the purchaser to share in costs for the remainder of the policy – until the out-of-pocket maximum amount is reached.

Crain’s report says that Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois has the lowest-costing plans. The average maximum cost for Blue Cross’ six bronze plans – the most common plan – is $8,066 annually. Be aware that due to its low premiums, Blue Cross usually has the widest cost range between its premiums and the maximum cost to a consumer.

Aetna is reported to be, on the average, the most expensive at $9,406 a year for the bronze coverage’s maximum costs.

Andrew Boron, the director of the Illinois Department of Insurance admits that the state did not analyze total costs to the consumer because – he asserts – it would have been too complicated. He says the role of the state is to see whether plans meet the governmental requirements or not.

Within Crain’s analysis of Illinois health care costs under Obamacare’s laws, it is suggested that some persons could pay less in the long run for health care if they take on a bigger monthly premium – yet, it cautions a consumer not to overspend.



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