|By Audrey Dutton, The Idaho Statesman|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
A 29-year-old mother spends about
And a 26-year-old
These Idahoans could pay much more for health insurance next year, in part because of new federal rules that affect how much insurers can charge people based on age for coverage they buy on their own for themselves and their families. Known as "age band compression," this shift will transfer some of the costs of health insurance from older Americans to people in their 20s and 30s.
YOUR AGE AFFECTS HOW MUCH YOU PAY
Older adults tend to be sicker and have costlier claims than younger adults. Insurers in
The limit doesn't apply to premiums that workers pay through large employers but does apply to small employers' plans. People who already have individual plans and don't change them might not be affected, either.
The idea is to spread the costs among everyone in the health insurance pool more evenly. But in states like
That, in turn, would make the insurance pool on the whole sicker and older -- meaning higher premiums for everyone.
"Frankly, if everybody was in the plan, you wouldn't need the (age-related) difference," because the pool would be more homogenous, said
Regence BlueShield of
BY THE NUMBERS
People 21 to 29 who buy their own insurance and earn too much for low-income premium subsidies will pay about 40 percent more for health insurance, according to Giesa and Carlson. Those in their 30s will average a 31 percent increase.
"You know, that's an
He'll be OK with it if the higher premium for his age group levels out the rising costs for people in their 50s and 60s.
According to Giesa and Carlson, those at the upper end of the age-rating spectrum -- pre-
This is just one way that health care reform will have an effect on each person who starts buying health insurance next year, they said.
It is "important to move beyond broad averages" when talking about the law's effect on health premiums, Giesa and Carlson said. "Averages may mask substantial differences in how market reforms will affect individual states and various populations in those states," especially age groups, they said.
A 25-year-old making
The national health insurance trade association,
The article suggested another approach, too: phasing in the ratio change instead of letting it hit on
THE FINE PRINT
There are ifs, ands and buts to these projections. The Oliver Wyman report addresses some of these, and the fact that a lower-priced catastrophic plan will be available to some young people.
-- The changes will affect everyone differently. Though rates will rise, the arrival in 2014 of federal premium subsidies will lessen the blow to many Idahoans. And rate increases are likely to be steeper for males than for females, who already pay higher rates in the younger age brackets.
-- They apply to premiums, not out-of-pocket costs that could be free or cheaper because of the overhaul.
-- Many younger adults in
Most of these unknowns are pertinent to
Her premiums have gone up very little -- maybe
School is her full-time job, so her lack of income could mean she'll get health insurance through
If that doesn't happen, she figures she'll just pay for a more expensive plan, even though money is already a little tight when she has to pay her premiums at the end of the semester, before student loans are disbursed.
"I could take that
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