Last weekend a new link/page was added to www.healthcare.gov. This link is titled “See Plans Now” (see image below – you can click to enlarge). This new feature claimed to let users view plans and rates in their area.
Unfortunately, the information provided via this tool is incorrect for nearly all users. Why, you ask? Because the healthcare.gov rate calculator does not estimate rates based on your exact age. Instead, the it simply asks if you are older/younger than age 49.
In the next image, you can see that when you choose to “”See Plans Now” you are simply asked if you are “49 or younger” or “50 or older”. Not exactly a great baseline for calculating health plan rates.
For this exercise, I chose Charleston County, SC as my area of residence, and selected “Age 49 or younger”. Of course, I am 35 years old, and my exchange application is still being delayed for Identity verification (2 weeks and counting). So it seems reasonable that I may want to browse rates on the federal exchange while my Identity Verification is processing. Of course, after completing the required information about myself and my family status, I was given a list of every plan available in Charleston county, SC. Unfortunately, the rates given were much lower than what my ACTUAL rates are, based on my South Carolina Health Exchange Rates quote engine! See the image below for the rates I was given:
As you can see, the healthcare.gov plan finder tool gave me estimated rates of $230.27 for the CoventryOne Silver $10 Copay Roper St Francis Plan.
Actual Results: Real numbers from SChealthconnector.org
So after viewing the rates over at healthcare.gov, I proceeded to run quotes for myself here on the schealthconnector.org South Carolina Health Exchange Rates page. As expected, my ACTUAL premium was much higher than that given by healthcare.gov $268.50 (See image below – click to enlarge). IN the age of Google, Amazon & Ebay, it seems obvious that transparency should be the #1 priority for a consumer website – hopefully our government can do much better- and SOON!
Mr. Dickerson, I have forwarded your site on to one of my friends that had this very situation referenced in the article happen to her. She was excited with what she was originally quoted from the .gov site, but after hearing what was going on in the news recently, she started getting worried and I am afraid what she was hoping for will not happen. It is a shame that the info given out by the government is so misleading, but hoping you can help her out.
Thank you for the reference, we look forward to working with your friend!
Also, I hear more in the government are starting to worry and recommend delaying the implementation of the mandate for some period of time. Have you heard anything that would lead you to believe one way or another?
Delaying the individual mandate seems to be gaining traction, however, that is a dangerous game to play with the risk pool in my opinion.