There’s nothing simple about paying for basic health care. That’s what Americans are learning as the country erupts in debate over the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).
Health-care exchanges, the marketplaces for uninsured people and those who don’t receive health insurance from employers, are launching in 36 states next week and while the premiums for insurance will only be revealed on October 1, the Department of Health and Human Services has shed some light on the exchanges. Rates will vary wildly from state to state; right now one of the lowest cost plans is in Minnesota at $192 per month, while it climbs to $403 in Mississippi. The system will also likely penalize young healthy people while reducing costs for those in poor health, according to many reports.
These 2.7 million young, healthy Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are being dubbed the young invincibles and are necessary to the ongoing success of Obamacare. If the healthy don’t subsidize the ailing, premiums become too high and the whole system falls apart.
Some of these young invincibles, however, aren’t too happy about bankrolling the older generation. Some don’t think they need health care at all and resent that it will be mandatory.
The Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget disagrees. “Unless you are destitute and you cannot get any sort of a job, you are being completely irresponsible if you don’t have basic health care,” he says. Why? “Because if your parents have any assets and you get in a car accident and have nothing, they will have to sell all of their assets to pay.”
In America’s current healthcare system, Blodget says, “If you go into a hospital without insurance you are screwed, you get the worst prices and end up owing tens of thousands of dollars, and so the idea of this $150 a month premium is so onerous is ridiculous.”
Blodget does concede that the state-by-state rates are less than ideal. “You could just move across a border somewhere, be two minutes more from work and you basically live in a totally different country,” he says. The state-based exchanges also hurt young Americans who tend to be more transient than their older counterparts.
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