The Norman Transcript


September 14, 2013

Three insurance companies to offer individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act



Aetna, for example, said it will charge $302 a month for a benchmark “silver” plan sold to a 40-year-old non-smoker living in the seven-county Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

That falls below the $320 average that the Congressional Budget Office projected for benchmark silver plans nationwide. A recent study of rates posted in 17 states showed a range of $212 in New Mexico to $413 in Vermont for comparable plans.

Under “Obamacare,” as it is known, a silver plan is designed to cover 70 percent of all medical costs incurred by an average policy holder. In Oklahoma, the $302 rate applies to an Aetna Classic policy with a $5,000 deductible, $30 co-pays for routine physician services and 30 percent patient cost-sharing for hospitalization.

Cheaper rates apply to “bronze” and catastrophic plans that require policy holders to pick up more of the tab. A 40-year-old non-smoker in central Oklahoma will pay $239 a month for an Aetna Advantage plan that offers almost no reimbursements until holders exceed a $6,350 deductible.

Based on the three companies’ rate filings, it appears most marketplace customers are likely to wind up with policies that cost somewhere in the range of $200 to $700 a month, before tax credits.

The biggest variable is age. The Affordable Care Act allows insurers to charge three times as much to cover a 64-year-old as they charge a 21-year-old for the same plan. All of them appear to be doing so.

Aetna’s rates for its benchmark silver plan start at $150 per month for people below the age of 21 in the Oklahoma City metro area. Those aged 21 to 24 will pay $236. The rates rise to $268 for 30-year-olds, $302 for 40-year-olds, $421 for 50-year-olds, $640 for 60-year-olds and $707 for 64-year-olds. Medicare takes over at age 65.

Another variable is tobacco use. Smokers will pay 10 percent more than non-smokers for Aetna’s policies, 20 percent more for Coventry’s policies and anywhere from 10 percent to more than 30 percent for Blue Cross Blue Shield’s plans.

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