Vermont Health Connect, Vermont’s health insurance marketplace, has taken a step further in its implementation of health exchange by revealing the Affordable Care Act compliant insurance rates. The analysis and implementation of these new health insurance rates reveal a substantial reduction in the premiums payable by lower income groups due to tax subsidies and ACA benefits.
The high and middle income groups are put at a disadvantage with the implementation of these rates. In January, when these premiums go live on the Vermont health marketplace, these groups will not experience any substantial improvements over the premiums they are currently paying. Green Mountain Care Board, the state’s largest insurer, maintained that high and middle income groups won’t experience any noticeable change in their premiums while lower and moderate groups, on the other hand, will find increased benefits and subsidies. A combination of state health subsidies and federal tax credits will make life a little easier for these groups by significantly lowering the health insurance costs.
To break down this gamut of rates and premiums, let’s look at a few examples,
• A middle income group individual buying a ‘silver’ plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield would have to shell out $395 per month. On the other hand, an individual with $34,000 as annual income would pay somewhere around $230 a month after taking federal subsidies and state discounts into account.
• A high income group individual buying a ‘silver’ plan from MVP Health Care would pay $410 a month for coverage. However for an individual in the moderate income group, the premium for the same plan would be only $252 per month after taking subsidies into account.
• The range of plans available vary from bronze to platinum, and each of these plans shows a substantial gap between premium cost for high income groups and low income groups. At the same time, per PPACA compliance, each plan has to cover essential benefits like emergency services, hospitalization, rehabilitative services, lab services etc.
With these rates going live on January 1, 2014, Green Mountain Care Board hopes to comply with ACA thoroughly and increase the number of enrollments in the state. Considering the premium regulation efforts and health coverage challenges being undertaken by the government, smooth sailing shouldn’t be that hard for Vermont in the months to come.