New regulations make price comparisons difficult

2013-09-29T11:30:00Z 2013-10-02T12:35:08Z New regulations make price comparisons difficultBy JOSHUA WOLFSON Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
September 29, 2013 11:30 am  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming’s health insurance marketplace has the unfortunate distinction of opening with some of the highest average prices in the nation. Premiums for a benchmark plan will average $516 a month for an individual, compared with $328 for the nation as a whole.

But there are problems with making simple price comparisons with premiums already sold through the private sector. For one, many Americans will qualify for marketplace subsidies that could cut a sizeable chunk from the amount they would actually pay. A 27-year-old with a $25,000 income would save about $200 each month on a plan that covers 70 percent of his medical expenses, according to a federal report released last week.

At the same time, people won’t be getting the same products as they have in the past, Wyoming Insurance Commissioner Tom Hirsig said.

The Affordable Care Act sets minimum standards for health plans sold on the exchange, and for new plans sold outside the marketplace to small businesses and individuals. All plans must include benefits in 10 basic areas, including pediatric care, emergency room visits and lab tests. Those essential benefits won’t have lifetime limits.

Wyoming didn’t have many mandated areas of coverage before. Broader benefits could translate to higher prices, but consumers will also be getting richer coverage, Hirsig said.

Every insurance plan, for example, will cover maternity and newborn care. Very few plans in Wyoming now offer that benefit, Hirsig said.

“The good thing is the plans cover a lot more,” he said. “The bad thing is: It’s not a menu. If you are a 40-year-old male, and you don’t want maternity and newborn care, you’re out of luck.”

The new requirements begin Jan. 1.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

Oil spill near Glendive latest in string of Casper company's pipeline breaks

Oil spill near Glendive latest in string of Casper company's pipeline breaks

11 hours ago Photos

Photos

Loading…
Just chill: Your guide to ice fishing

Just chill: Your guide to ice fishing

12 hours agoLoading…

Public lands transfer legislation advances in Legislature

22 hours agoLoading…

Bill would let state invest up to $50M for value-added products

January 30, 2015 4:41 pmLoading…

Report: Wyoming gun death rate among country's highest

January 30, 2015 4:36 pmLoading…

State Senate approves sports concussion liability bill

January 30, 2015 3:08 pmLoading…
Senate postpones Medicaid expansion vote

Senate postpones Medicaid expansion vote

January 30, 2015 1:42 pmLoading…
Government unloads scandal-ridden Teapot Dome oil field for $45M

Government unloads scandal-ridden Teapot Dome oil field for $45M

January 30, 2015 1:30 pmLoading…
New Wyoming race combines fat bikes, skis and snowshoes

New Wyoming race combines fat bikes, skis and snowshoes

January 30, 2015 10:43 amLoading…

Alleged drunk driver plows through Wyoming landfill

January 30, 2015 10:47 amLoading…
Cheyenne Central students take tree fingerprints

Cheyenne Central students take tree fingerprints

January 30, 2015 10:26 amLoading…

Religious freedom bill advances in Wyoming House

January 29, 2015 6:00 pmLoading…

University of Wyoming gets closer to finding permanent deans

January 29, 2015 5:42 pmLoading…

Follow The Billings Gazette

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses