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Health Care Plan Details Worrisome

September 26, 2013
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Wide choices of insurance coverage and low premiums were touted by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius when she discussed the new national health care law - Obamacare - with reporters this week.

Why, a mid-range health insurance policy under the Obamacare "marketplace" system will cost the average American just $328 a month, it was reported.

But the reality for West Virginians may be far different. Finding out about it is next to impossible.

Beginning Jan. 1, Obamacare requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay hefty taxes, which will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service. If you do not have insurance through your employer or a government program, that leaves it up to you to make the arrangements - and remember, the insurance you have now may not be acceptable.

Despite Sebelius' claims, just one company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, is participating in the "marketplace" through which many West Virginians will have to obtain insurance. Twelve different insurance plans will be offered. The DHHS refers to them as "bronze," "silver," "gold" and "platinum" coverage. In addition, catastrophic care policies are offered.

According to the DHHS, a 45-year-old Mountain State resident will pay $275 a month for "bronze" coverage and $252 more if a catastrophic care policy is chosen.

But if you are 62 years old, the same coverage will cost you $951 a month.

And bear this in mind: "Bronze" coverage is very basic. It covers just 60 percent of health care costs.

Sebelius notes many Americans will receive checks to help pay for the coverage. The threshold for such assistance is $50,000 annual income for a family of four. If you happen to earn more than that, the insurance comes out of your own pocket.

Or, you could choose to pay the tax that will be levied against people who don't want Obamacare coverage or can't afford it.

That, too, will be expensive. The penalty starts at 1 percent of your income or $95, whichever is higher. By 2016, it shoots up to $695 or 2.5 percent.

Once you've learned some of the details of Obamacare, you may swallow hard and decide you'd better find out more. Not yet.

Sebelius and the DHHS have touted a website, www.HealthCare.gov., as providing information on the system. But West Virginians visiting the site are informed, "Plan & Cost info coming Oct. 1."

Clearly, the government simply isn't ready to begin its own program. Just as obviously, its selective use of numbers is not telling millions of people the whole story.

West Virginians, like many other concerned Americans, should be demanding that our representatives in Congress kill or at least delay Obamacare.

 
 

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