NJ Residents Have Options with Affordable Care Act

By Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor
NJ Today

In New Jersey, the Affordable Care Act offers lots of variety with plans tailored to income, according to Joel Cantor, at the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy.

“There are going to be four or five kinds of plans available, and they’ll be sort of scored by metal level — Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum. And then for some people something called the catastrophic plan. And as the preciousness of the metal goes up, the benefits will be richer,” Cantor said.

Here’s an example — a 22-year-old choosing the lowest cost Bronze plan will pay about $208 per month. For minimum Gold, it jumps to just over $289. Rates are much higher for older people. A 55-year-old will pay roughly $465 for the minimum Bronze plan and about $645 for the lowest Gold plan. Platinum plans cost the most. So what do you get for your money?

“The Bronze plan, for example, the plan itself would pay for the average person about 60 percent of total costs. The Platinum plan, about 90 percent of expected health care costs. So it’ll be a nice way to shop because you’ll be able to can compare apples to apples,” Cantor said.

If these rates sound expensive, Cantor says it’s all relative.

“The Gold plan sounds about right, about $700 a month. But if you were to look at the prices available in the market today, it could be $3,000 a month,” said Cantor.

People with low incomes can apply for subsidies to significantly reduce premium prices. But Cantor warns the rates released by the government are averages and some consumers will end up paying more.

In order to keep rates affordable, young and healthy people are going to have to sign up to help spread the risks and costs for sick people. So we asked folks in New Brunswick what they think about Obamacare.

“If my employer’s not offering me benefits, then of course I’ll be signing up for Obamacare,” said Andrew Khazanovich.

“I don’t like to be forced into buying anything by the government, so that’s primarily the reason that I’m against it,” said Paul Kolody of Manville.

Computer glitches could plague Obamacare’s debut and people who refuse to enroll will face penalties. It could be a bumpy roll-out when the marketplace opens Oct. 1.