Ohio's individual health insurance costs expected to be high

Ohio. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor
Ohio. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor
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Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor says the cost to provide insurance to individuals not covered by their employer will go up when the statewide health insurance exchange takes effect in 2014.

Taylor says 14 companies have proposed operating 214 different health insurance plans on the exchange, which is mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The proposals averaged 88 percent higher than plans currently on the market.

"Based on the information and all filings submitted to the department for exchange products last Friday, the average cost is $420.14," Taylor says. The estimate is for the monthly cost of providing insurance to an individual.

Taylor points out the proposed costs are not the premiums but rather the amount it will cost the insurance companies to provide essential health benefits. But she says premiums are expected to "trend closely with costs." She adds the costs are higher because the plans are required to provide certain benefits mandated by the ACA that they were not required before.

More than 520,000 Ohioans are expected to seek insurance on the exchanges, according to a 2011 report by Milliman. Some individuals who are expected to enroll in Ohio’s exchange will qualify for the federal tax credit, however Taylor said the department did not have enough information to calculate how that would affect premium payments next year. The nonprofit Henry J. Kaiser Foundation provides a primer and calculator for individuals to check what that discount might be. That can be found here: http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/

Taylor began warning of rate shock earlier this year after a release from the national Society of Actuaries predicted that Ohio’s individual rates would jump 80 percent from $223 to $403. The 83-page report published in March outlines that prices will vary widely depending on the state.

Statewide exchanges are slated for people who don’t get health insurance through their employer. Individuals will be able to enroll for insurance on the exchange beginning Oct. 1. Health coverage would begin Jan. 1 of next year.

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