Updated Sept 11 9:31 1.m.
Good luck trying to figure out how much insurance might cost Floridians who buy it through the new Obamacare federal insurance exchange, at least based on what Florida has revealed so far, said officials of a leading national think-tank tracking Obamacare.
However, Floridians may know the full set of rates and subsidy estimates available to them under Obamacare within a week, and certainly by the federal deadline of Oct. 1.
Officials at the the Kaiser Family Foundation told reporters this afternoon during a national press briefing that they have been able to analyze insurance plans offered in 17 states, while others have either released nothing yet or, in Florida's case, have released so little as to be worthless so far.
Last week Kaiser released a study comparing known rates around the country and had listed Florida as one of the states that had not released anything yet. That had brought about a rebuke from Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty's office late last week saying he had, indeed, released some rate information.
But what was released was at the least too vague to show what anyone anywhere in Florida might pay and might even be misleading, Kaiser officials told reporters Tuesday.
"We did spend a lot of time looking at rate filings in Florida, but they’re fairly opaque even for people that know what they are doing," said Gary Claxton, the foundation's vice president and director of the Health Care Marketplace Project and co-director of the Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance.
McCarty's office said they were working as hard as possible to get Florida's Obamacare policies, and full information would be fully posted soon, certainly by the Oct. 1 deadline. Spokeswoman Amy Bogner said the office was being transparent and had posted all rate proposals on its website, though many pages are not available because the companies who proposed them sought to publicly withhold some information as trade secrets.
Bogner said she expects the full rates should be available and posted soon.
“Other reports and studies include the impact of Federal subsidies and is not comparable to the premium impact data released by the office," stated a release she issued. "However, a subsidy analysis has been performed by the Office and is expected to be released within the next week.”
"We are doing the best we can to provide as much information as we can as quickly as we can," she said.
The rates are those that will be available to uninsured Floridians seeking to enroll in an Obamacare-sponsored insurance plan in order to have mandatory health insurance. The rates vary from place to place, age bracket to age bracket, and income bracket to income bracket. In addition, each of a state's regions would be offering four plans of various cost (ranging from "Bronze" coverage to "Platinum" coverage.
The insurance exchange rates not only vary from state to state but from rate area to rate area within a state. In California, for example, Los Angeles residents will pay much less than San Francisco residents, Kaiser said. So the costs of Florida's plan won't be known until rates are detailed for each of 11 rate areas.
So far, the Kaiser study has found rates that the foundation says are competitive with current insurance options on the market. Claxton said he expects the same out of Florida.
"From the few (rates) we looked at, I’m not sure they’re outside this range. I don’t think they are," he said.