NEW ORLEANS - So how much can you expect to spend when buying medical insurance now that the new law is about to go into effect? It is still unclear but there is an overview of what changes you can expect to see.
When you go shopping on the new marketplace, called the exchange, your insurance agent will tell you about all the metallic plans.
"There's going to be five different plans if you're under 30. Over 30, four different plans: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Those plans are going to vary widely," said Patrick Taylor, President of Benefit Planning Group in Metairie.
Everyone will have the option of the four metallic plans. If you're younger than 30 years old, you will have a fifth option: buy coverage only for catastrophic illness. Those four metallic plans include: the bronze plan, where the insurance company pays 66 percent of your medical costs, you pay the rest out of pocket. For the silver plan, insurance pays 75 percent. Gold plan, 81 percent and platinum plan, 92 percent. Your costs include: deductibles, co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. Keep in mind that the Affordable Care Law defines the lower valued plan, or bronze plan, as affordable.
"People are going to have a reset on what they expect health insurance to do right now. Most if us are enrolled in gold, high gold, low platinum level benefit plans," Denny Ebersole, a producer with AON Hewitt, explained to a group of business owners. He says many people who have insurance through work have plans better than the so- called affordable bronze plan.
In all the new metallic plans, insurance will cover 100 percent of the cost for wellness checks, preventive care, annual screenings, vaccinations, cancer screenings, and contraception. If you get insurance at work, you can stay with that one or buy one of the metallic ones on the exchange. But if your work policy is calculated as affordable by law, you would not qualify to get a government subsidy when buying on your own. And remember, the cost of your plan could be different than someone else's who is getting the exact same coverage.
"The premium for somebody that's 21 versus somebody that's 65, is going to be different on the exchange because it's age based," explained Gabriel P. Janusa, President of Demand Insurance & Benefits, LLC in Metairie.
And where you live and family size will also determine rates.
Metallic plans will vary from provider to provider. The plans and prices have not yet been released.
We have more resources on a special page: www.wwltv.com/healthcare.
Also, Thursday on Eyewitness Morning News, experts will be at a phone bank taking calls and answering questions about the health care law. That'll be from 7 to 9 a.m.