It costs just $194 a month for a 30-year-old with a moderately low income to buy health insurance, according to the government’s new healthcare.gov website.The Obamacare website, which was plagued by a massive failure before it even began working in November, is now humming along for the average shopper.
The broken government website cost more than $500 million to build, according to numerous news reports. According to some reports, it is not fully up to speed yet.
Still, people can shop and compare without trouble.
To check out healthcare costs and options, click the "Learn" button at the top of the home page at www.healthcare.gov and answer a few questions – age, income, number people in the household, if insurance is available through an employer, and the state and county where you live.
Then choose a coverage level.
A "bronze" coverage level plan has the least coverage and lowest prices. For better coverage, click on silver, gold or platinum.
After you choose a level, you will see the estimated costs of a half-dozen or so insurance policies.
The Bulletin conducted a random search on Jan. 29. We looked up the cost of coverage for a 30-year-old single person who makes $30,000 a year.
We picked the silver level of coverage.
Of five insurance plans offered, the lowest priced plan was offered by CoOportunity, an non-profit insurance company that began operating a year ago. It was formed to be compatible with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The company operates in Nebraska and Iowa.
For the 30-year-old in our example, a CoOportunity Premier HSA (health savings account) premium would cost $194 a month. The deductible is $2,000 a year. The maximum out-of-pocket cost per year would be $4,500 -- exactly 15% of the yearly income of $30,000.
Once the deductible is paid, the 30-year-old would pay about 30 percent of his or her health care costs until the maximum is spent that year.
On the higher end of the five plans that were offered, a plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield called Blue Essentials Plus carries a $316/mo. premium, a $2,500 deductible and a $6,350 year maximum out-of-pocket cost.
If you'd buy that plan, you’d pay $30 for doctor visits until the maximum out-of-pocket limit was reached.
We also checked options for a 30-year-old pregnant woman, who has no one else in the household. Her insurance would be covered by the federal government’s CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and most if not all costs of care would be provided at no charge, the website said.
Consumers can still sign up for health insurance for this year. The deadline is March 15.
This report was first published in the Jan. 29 print edition of the North Platte Bulletin.