Obamacare Premiums Are Lower Than Expected

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When California announced its healthcare premium rates under Obamacare, state officials cheered and detractors detracted. (What about the young men?!?) When New York announced its premiums yesterday, state officials cheered and detractors pointed out that the apparently low premiums were low only compared to New York’s previously sky-high premiums. So who’s right?

Today, Sarah Kliff draws our attention to a report from the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS. They gathered the average premiums for silver plans in the eleven states that have announced rates so far, and compared it to the forecast from the Congressional Budget Office. Basically, they took CBO’s estimate of $15,400 for the second lowest-cost silver family policy in 2016, and did a bit of extrapolation to get a forecast rate of $4,700 for an individual in 2014. That’s $392 per month, and due to data limitations, they’re comparing this to the lowest-cost silver plans announced so far, not the second lowest-cost. They figure the difference isn’t likely to be much. Anyway, it turns out that most of the plans so far are coming in under the CBO estimate:

Kliff comments: “What’s striking, to me at least, is that premiums look relatively similar despite wildly different rhetoric across the country….When California announced its rates, the Democrat-led state celebrated how affordable prices came in. When Ohio released data, it derided how expensive health insurance would be under the federal reforms. In actuality though, Ohioans and Californians will see pretty similar premiums on the new marketplaces. There’s a $16 difference between the two states.”

Also, as always, note that these are raw premiums. Anyone with a low income will get subsidies from the government, so the actual price they pay will be even lower. And the prices for bronze plans will be lower yet.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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