Yesterday California announced premium rates for its healthcare exchanges. Sarah Kliff points out that the premiums are lower than many estimates:
Health insurers will charge 25-year-olds between $142 and $190 per month for a bare-bones health plan in Los Angeles. A 40-year-old in San Francisco who wants a top-of-the-line plan would receive a bill between $451 and $525. Downgrade to a less robust option, and premiums fall as low as $221. These premium rates, released Thursday, help answer one of the biggest questions about Obamacare: How much health insurance will cost. They do so in California, the state with 7.1 million uninsured residents, more than any other place in the country.
It’s also worth noting that, thanks to Obamacare’s subsidies for the poor, many will pay less than the already low sticker prices. In case you missed it, Jonathan Cohn weighed in this morning in a must-read. Ezra notes how California is a vital test:
It’s not just the largest state in the nation. It’s also one of the states most committed to implementing Obamacare effectively. Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — remember how that really happened? — California was the first state to begin building its insurance exchanges. The state’s outreach efforts are unparalleled. Its insurance regulators are working hard to bring in good plans and make sure they’re playing fair. If California can’t make the law work, perhaps no one can. But if California can make the law work, it shows that others can, too.
Elspeth Reeve adds that other states have had similar experiences:
We’ve see this happen in other states. Earlier this month, rate proposals released by insurance companies in Washington state showed some people’s premiums would actually go down. Premera Blue Cross had estimated that premiums would rise about 50 percent to 70 percent. When Oregon released proposed health care premiums online in May, two insurers requested the chance to adjust their rates — to make them lower. Why is this happening? “The premiums and participation in California, Oregon, Washington and other states show that insurers want to compete for the new enrollees in this market,” the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Gary Claxton told The New Republic. The glories of the free market.
Let us now praise the Heritage Foundation, that Marxist-Leninist den that originally came up with the idea of healthcare exchanges.