Spotting Fake Obamacare Horror Stories
Igor Volsky shows us how to spot fake stories of people claiming how much worse things are under Obamacare. Conservatives in the media have taken great delight profiling those who say they are hurting under the new health care plan.
Deborah Cavallaro, for instance, a real estate agent from Los Angeles, was enrolled in an individual plan that cost her just $293 per month. Under Obamacare, Cavallaro says she’ll have to pay over $400 for coverage she doesn’t need or want. But a higher premium doesn’t tell the whole story: while Cavallaro may spend more each month, she’ll be buying more comprehensive insurance with fewer out-of-pocket costs, better benefits that will cover more and cost her less if she actually falls ill, and much more robust consumer protections.
Volsky suggests a few things to ascertain before you buy into these tales of woe.
- What does the old plan actually cover? Most of the policies in the existing individual health care market — which are currently issuing notices — offer low premiums, but also come with skimpy benefits and high out-of-pocket costs…
- Did this person go to the exchanges? Insurers informing policy holders that their health care costs will go up, often direct beneficiaries to their other brand products without telling them about competitive options and prices available through the exchanges. Cavallaro, for instance, got a quote from a broker, but did not explore the available options on her own…
- Does this person qualify for subsidies? Americans between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line ($46,000 for an individual, or about $78,000 for a family of three) qualify for tax credits under the law. Six of the 7 million individuals who are expected to sign up for insurance through the exchange will receive an average tax credit of $5,290 per year.
- Cavallaro “qualifies her for a hefty federal premium subsidy,” Hiltzik reports and can purchase a silver plan for $333, $40 more than she’s paying now. A cheaper bronze plan would be in the $200s.