I have followed the discussion of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly called Obamacare, among the Carriage Towne News letter writers with a lot of speculation about how much health insurance policies will cost, whether the plans will be affordable, and if the new health care plans offered in our state will be better than the insurance available before the passage of the law. All those questions can be answered now, because the health insurance companies offering policies in New Hampshire have now published their prices and policy terms.
I received the cancellation notice for our family’s policy from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield on Friday. We have been paying $1,047 per month for our family of four, with a $10,000 deductible. Like many people, we chose a high deductible policy to keep our monthly payments affordable, and to provide us with insurance in case somebody in our family became seriously ill or injured.
Anthem, which is the only company available through the health insurance exchange, and therefore the only company for which federal subsidies are available, provides quotations for their policies, along with the terms and conditions of the policies on their web site. You can see them there for yourself.
Using their website, I obtained quotes for their new Obamacare compliant policies, which we have to switch to in 2014. The prices were high, so I started out by dropping one of our children, since he can get less costly and better coverage himself. With my wife, myself, and one child, the least costly “Bronze” level policy will cost $1,359 per month, a 30% increase. The plan still has a $10,000 deductible, with a $12,000 out of pocket maximum.
But the fine print tells a much more alarming story. The plan and all the other Anthem plans offered through the exchange to individuals, does not provide any benefits for out of network hospitals or physicians. That means that you have no insurance for when you need it most, when you have to see doctors at or be admitted to the major hospitals in Boston. In fact, many hospitals within New Hampshire aren’t included in the new Anthem plans either, so the policy won’t pay for you to be admitted to those hospitals either. But that’s an inconvenience, not a life or death matter.