Q: Will the new healthcare law lower my premiums?
It depends on several factors. In some states, such as New York and New Jersey, previous health insurance laws required insurance companies to offer coverage without pre-existing condition exclusions. Insurers in these states were also required to offer rates that were the same for everyone. However, these states had no mandate for individuals to purchase coverage, so rates were very expensive. The new healthcare law is likely to lower premiums in those states.
In states like California, individual insurance plans were inexpensive, but insurance companies only allowed very healthy individuals to buy the plans. Rates in these states may go up. However, coverage will be widely available, and people with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase insurance.
Additionally, the healthcare law requires individuals to have a comprehensive health insurance package, and prohibits limited benefit policies (with a few narrow exceptions). Individuals with limited-benefit policies may see rate increases, as they have to buy broader policies.
The new healthcare law provides subsidies for many individuals. If you qualify for these subsidies, your actual cost may be less than your insurance plan's premium.
Next question: How will the new healthcare reform law affect Medicare?
Meet the experts to answer the commonly asked questions to help you understand the Health Care Exchange
Linda V. Tiano
Member of the Firm at Epstein, Becker, and Green in Washington, DC and New York
Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System.
Director of Health Care Reform at Priority Health in Michigan.