California officials share glimpse at future of health insurance market
The California health insurance exchange is beginning to take form and consumers are finally getting a glimpse at what kind of policies will be provided through the system. The state has chosen to build and operate the exchange itself, accepting federal financial aid for the effort. This week, state officials have begun to provide some information concerning the kind of health insurance policies that will be available in the exchange beginning October of this year.
Exchange to offer plans in tiered system
According to federal law, health insurance plans offered through the exchange must fit into four tiers: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Each of these tiers features minimum benefits that can be found in all policies of a given tier. A policy in the Platinum tier, for example, will require policyholders to pay 10% of the cost of care, while those in the Bronze tier will have to pay 40%. The policies in the highest tiers are the most expensive, while those in Silver and Bronze will be priced to compete with policies offered through the private market.
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New website launch to provide information to consumers
California officials have begun to outline the rules that will govern the state’s health insurance exchange, highlighting several provisions that will affect the cost of policies sold through the exchange. The state has launched a new website to help provide this information in a concise and efficient manner. Through the website, consumers can find some information concerning the cost of the health insurance policies they can purchase form the exchange, as well as calculate the monthly premiums they can expect to pay for such policies.
Federal subsidies available to some consumers
State officials note that those looking to receive coverage through the health insurance exchange may be eligible for federal subsidies that could make coverage significantly more affordable. For families that earn up to $35,000 annually, these federal subsidies can bring premiums down to approximately $120 a month. The new website also outlines the deductibles and co-pays that consumers can expect from health insurance plans in the exchange’s tiered system. Silver plans will likely have a $2,000 annual deductible and $45 co-pay while Platinum plans will have no deductible and a $25 co-pay.