White House unveils first glance at Obamacare premiums

With new health insurance markets launching Oct. 1, the Obama administration is unveiling premiums and plan choices for 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead to cover uninsured residents, including Wisconsin.

Before tax credits that work like an upfront discount for most consumers, sticker-price premiums for a mid-range benchmark plan will average $361 a month in Wisconsin and $328 nationally for an individual, comparable to payments for a new car.

The overview of premiums and plan choices were released today by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Consumers will be able to choose from an average of 53 plan options when the new markets open for people who do not have health care on the job.

“For millions of Americans, these new options will finally make health insurance work within their budgets,” she said.

A report by her department estimated that about 95% of consumers will have two or more insurers to choose from. Premiums will generally be lower than what the Congressional Budget Office experts estimated when the legislation was being debated, Sebelius said. About one-fourth of the insurers participating are new to the individual coverage market, a sign that could be good for competition.

The actual premiums people pay will depend on an array of factors, including location, the quality of the plan, family size, age, tax credits based on income and more.

The administration report found that factoring in tax credits, a 27-year-old making $25,000 a year would see the premium for the benchmark silver plan drop to $145 in nearly every state.

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