INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The cost of buying health insurance through Indiana's
federal exchange neither as expensive as detractors expected, nor as cheap
as supporters have surmised, according to rates released by the federal
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report included data for
36 states whose online marketplaces are being run by the federal
More than 500,000 Indiana residents are expected to be eligible to buy
insurance through the exchange. Enrollment begins next week, and the
state's wide range of rates starts at under $100 per month for some single
adults and goes up to more than $1,000 for a family of four.
A 27-year-old individual would pay anywhere from $168 a month for
bare-bones "catastrophic" coverage to $332 monthly for the cheapest of
highest-tier "gold" plans. And a hypothetical family of four with the
second-lowest "silver" plan could pay up to $961 a month. However, tax
credits for middle- to lower-income single adults and families will drop
those costs significantly.
"Indiana is not the highest, and Indiana not the lowest, but you're
definitely going to be offering some new, affordable health care than
what's been offered in the past," said David Roos, executive director of
Covering Kids and Families of Indiana.
The advance look at rates comes a week before Indiana's exchange, where
residents can comparison-shop for coverage, is set to open. Gov. Mike
Pence, a vociferous opponent of President Barack Obama's federal health
care law while serving in Congress, opted last year to let the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services set up and run Indiana's exchange.
State officials, however, have beefed up the number of Medicaid
caseworkers and been running tests on the technical infrastructure.
Republican lawmakers also approved a plan earlier this year that made
Indiana one of a handful of states to require background checks and
additional certification for "navigators," whose job is to help residents
Beginning January 1, residents will have to own insurance, pay a penalty
or show they qualify for a special exemption from the federal mandate.
Throughout the extensive partisan debates over the law, one of the most
pressing questions has been: How much will it cost?
The data released Wednesday, which is based off rate plans submitted by
the insurance companies which will sell through the exchanges, shows a
wide range of possibilities in each of the four categories. In Indiana,
four insurers will be offering 34 different plans.
For example, an individual can choose from $200 a month for "bronze"
coverage, $258 a month for "silver" coverage and $332 a month for "gold"
coverage. But if that person earns $25,000 — a little more than double the
federal poverty level — federal subsidies will cut the cost of the
"silver" coverage by roughly $120 a month.
A hypothetical family of four earning $50,000 would pay $282 a month for a
federally subsidized "silver" plan.
HHS only provided general benchmarks Wednesday, so specific quotes would
vary based on myriad factors for anyone buying through the exchange.