Monday, December 9, 2013

Affordable Care Act: Keeping it Local

% Uninsured. Darker = More Uninsured
I am one of those whose health insurance is employer provided, so I don't really have anything to do as the Affordable Care Act takes effect. But, I've been listening to the news stories about the website woes and to other stories about coverages, availability, etc. Unfortunately, much of that information is tainted by the bias, or the lack of knowledge, of those talking the loudest.

How will ACA affect folks in the central Shenandoah Valley? How many people are uninsured? How much will it cost? How many plans are available? At this phase of buying anything new it seems there are lots of questions.

This interactive tool, publicized by the Washington Post and developed by consumer finance website ValuePenguin, lets you take a look on a county-by-county basis at the extent of the problem of uninsured Americans as well as the number of companies and the number of plans offered. It might just blow away a little of the smoke and help clear the air on ObamaCare.

For example, Rockingham County has 11, 556 uninsured individuals among its population of 63,467. That's over 18% uninsured. Three companies will be offering a total of 28 plans in Rockingham County. An individual age 30 with an annual income of $35,000 would not qualify for a subsidy and the premium of the Benchmark Silver Plan is $243.

In Augusta County there are 8,603 uninsured individuals which is 14.6% of the population. Four companies are offering 38 different plans. Once again our 30 year old making $35,000 would not qualify for a subsidy and the premium for the Benchmark Silver Plan is $246.

Check it out. Put in your own income. Explore the country. Yes, you will notice that suburban/urban areas, especially in the Northeast and Northwest typically have more companies and more choices of plans. You will notice that premiums vary by locality. You will find counties in WV and many other states, often in the South, that top 20% uninsured. Places in Texas and, I am sure other places, top 30%. How do you spell Disgraceful? How do you calculate the hidden costs for the rest of us?