The laws individual-insurance mandate is aimed at providing care for the estimated 48 million Americans younger than 65 who do not have insurance. Most Americans, about 85 percent, have health insurance through their jobs and are unlikely to buy coverage through the exchanges; Americans older than 65 who are covered by Medicare do not need to enroll.
The government projects that about seven million people will buy health coverage through the insurance marketplaces in the next year, and about six million of them will receive tax credits to lower their costs.
The subsidies will be for low- and middle-income residents who earn between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For 2013, that includes individuals who make from $11,490 to $46,000, two-person families earning between $19,530 and $78,120, and four-person families earning between $23,550 and $94,200 a year.
Some, however, will be left without any health insurance. Florida is one of more than 20 states that did not expand Medicaid. The Legislatures decision not to accept more than $50 billion in federal funds over 10 years to bolster Medicaid has left an estimated 995,000 people mostly Floridas poorest residents without options for medical coverage. Those in the coverage gap have poverty-level incomes but do not qualify for Medicaid and are not eligible for tax credits to help buy insurance on the exchanges.
And Americans who are eligible but opt not to buy health insurance for 2014 will be penalized 1 percent of their annual income or $95 per person per year, whichever is more. The penalties will increase each year.
The average prices released by the government on Wednesday are based on various coverage tiers including gold, silver and bronze that consumers will have to choose from on the exchanges. Higher-priced platinum plans also will be available, as will low-cost catastrophic coverage for young adults.
In Florida, the average monthly premium for the least-expensive bronze plan is $257. Thats an uptick from the $243 statewide average insurance premium from 2012, according to Floridas Office of Insurance Regulation.
The least-expensive plan in the silver tier would cost the average Floridian $304 a month, and the second-least-expensive silver plan would cost $328 a month, without tax credits.
The data released Tuesday offered examples of average premiums for 27-year-olds the age at which adult children can no longer remain on their parents insurance plans as well as for a family of four with an income of $50,000.
In the Miami-Hialeah metro area the report offered a sampling of regional data a 27-year-old earning $25,000 a year would pay $87 a month for the least-expensive bronze plan after tax credits. A family of four in the same area making $50,000 a year would pay $72 a month for the same plan after the subsidies.
In the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood-Pompano Beach metro area, the 27-year-old would pay $74 a month and the family of four would pay $24 a month for the lowest-cost bronze plan.
Residents of Miami-Dade and Broward counties will have among the most plans to choose from of anywhere in the state 137 and 132, respectively. Monroe County residents will have 18 coverage plans available.
The fact that there are numerous plans available will enable competition between the plans to work on behalf of consumers, said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a nonpartisan group that supports Obamacare. As different plans compete with one another, they are going to have to provide a value to consumers, over and above what their competitors are providing. . . .