|By James Chilton, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But here in
A new report published Wednesday by health insurance analysis company HealthPocket found that low-income Wyomingites pay the highest premiums in the country when purchasing plans through the ACA insurance marketplace. The report specifically looks at those adults who fall into the "
Such subsidies are given to those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is defined as
In its report, HealthPocket looked at the cheapest available catastrophic, bronze and silver health insurance plans in each of the 23 states that have chosen not to expand
"The Affordable Care Act defined affordable coverage for an employee in employer-provided coverage to have premium costs at most 9.5 percent of the employee's household income," the report read.
"By this definition of affordability, the only affordable exchange plan for any enrollees with incomes below 100 percent FPL that were ineligible for
In other words, of the 69 "tiers" of plans being offered among the 23 non-
Every other plan in the non-
And it just gets worse for more inclusive plans and for older people. A 50-year old looking to purchase a silver plan on
"Frankly, if you're below 100 percent of poverty level, you probably couldn't afford the 9 percent you see in
The obvious solution, to Neal at least, is for
But while the state Legislature in March empowered Gov.
"We've heard that they are talking, but that's all we've heard," Neal said. "It'd be great to find out what they've discussed and what they're proposing."
"There has been some preliminary touching base with the regional (
Neal said he's concerned that any
"There are certain things in these discussions we think are complete deal-breakers, and one of them is a work requirement," Neal said. "Many (uninsured Wyomingites) are already working, and others are at home taking care of a spouse or other family member, and some are simply sick and can't work."
Those concerns are shared by
"A single person at 100 percent of poverty makes less than
"There's a real unfairness in this where people who could be eligible for
Cartwright said she's hopeful that, as implementation of the ACA continues, more insurers will express interest in joining
"When you look at prices of insurance, you can't compare
He added that the idea that insurance companies are taking advantage of the relative lack of competition in order to "gouge" customers is misguided, given that the ACA mandates how much profit insurers can make off of exchange enrollees.
Specifically, insurers can only use 20 percent of subscriber premiums to cover administrative costs and investor profits. The rest must be spent on medical care and related quality improvement activities.
"If they don't meet that, they have to refund premiums to their customers," Hirsig said. "So insurance companies aren't the ones getting rich. If insurance companies were getting rich, we'd have lots of insurance companies here."
Hirsig has been encouraging insurance companies to take part in
"It's probably not going to change anytime soon," he said.
(c)2014 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.)
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