Tuesday, August 20, 2013

W.H. Praises Article Citing 'Far From Cheap' Health Insurance Prices

    As Obamacare's launch on October 1st draws closer, the Obama administration is trying to reassure the public that the program is going to deliver on the promises of the last four years.  Tuesday, David Simas, White House Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications & Strategy, tweeted (and the White House retweeted): “Great ACA news from Montana. "Pleasantly surprised" w/ prices & they don't factor tax credits yet,” and linked to an article at the Montana Standard. And while Montana's state auditor Monica Lindeen, a Democrat, indeed said she was "pleasantly surprised" at the recently released rates, the article was far from a rousing endorsement [emphasis added]:
HELENA – The state’s top insurance official Monday released the premiums Montanans will pay for health insurance policies they buy on the new “Obamacare” marketplace in 2014 — and said she is “pleasantly surprised” by the prices.
Whether the premiums are higher or lower than current prices isn’t immediately clear, because most policies on the Internet marketplace as of Oct. 1 have different terms than policies on the market now. 
However, the policy premiums don’t appear wildly different than rates for current individual policies in Montana — and next year’s prices also could be offset by generous federal subsidies for individuals, depending on one’s income. 
State Auditor Monica Lindeen said the comparable prices are due in part because of Montana’s relatively strict insurance laws, which already mandate many basic coverages required by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare... 
Still, the prices released Monday show that health insurance remains far from cheap. 
    The article gives an example; the least expense policy for a 25 year-old:
For a 25-year-old, the least-expensive policy of those revealed Monday is about $155 a month — and that policy has a nearly $4,000 deductible, meaning you’d pay for most medical costs out of your own pocket up to $4,000, before insurance covers much of anything. 
Also, that policy has a 50 percent coinsurance rate, which means you’d still pay half the amount of medical costs covered by insurance.
    This is not the first time the White House has promoted an article that doesn't reflect well on ObamaCare.  In May, the White House retweeted a story from Oregon that explicitly stated that Oregonians will face "higher premiums in the 2014 individual market."

Note: A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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