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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 27, 2013 8:03 PM Flag

    Maryland issues insurance rates that are among lowest in U.S.

    Maryland issues insurance rates that are among lowest in U.S.

    By Lena H. Sun, Published: July 26

    Maryland insurance officials approved final rates Friday for health plans to be sold in the state’s new online marketplace that are among the lowest in the country. The plans, which are for individuals, will be sold beginning Oct. 1.

    The Maryland Insurance Administration approved premiums at levels as much as 33 percent below what had been requested by insurance carriers. For a 21-year-old non-smoker, for example, options start as low as $93 a month. Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith reduced the premium rates proposed by every insurance carrier in the individual market, including some by more than 50 percent, according to an analysis by Maryland officials who will be operating the marketplace.

    The rates offered by nine carriers are among the lowest of the 12 states that have proposed or approved rates for comparison to date, and among the lowest in the D.C. area.

    “We are pleased that Maryland is among the lowest in the country,” said the state’s health secretary, Joshua Sharfstein. He said the rates were an important step for the launch of the online marketplace, the Maryland Health Connection.

    According to the analysis, a 25-year-old buying the cheapest “bronze” plan — with the lowest premium but higher out-of-pocket costs — would pay $119 to $129 a month in Maryland, compared with $151 in Washington and $134 in Virginia. A 50-year-old could buy a “silver” plan and pay $260 to $269 a month in Maryland, compared with $319 in New York and $329 in Virginia.

    Officials said the state’s analysis also showed that a majority of Marylanders expected to purchase health insurance through the marketplace will be eligible for tax subsidies to reduce the cost of coverage under the federal health-care law, known as the Affordable Care Act. Subsidies would be available for Americans who earn less than 400 percent of the poverty line, about $45,000 for an indi

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