LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — California officials have unveiled plans and prices for health coverage available under the Affordable Care Act as Americans prepare to make health insurance a mandatory monthly expense.
Federal law will require most uninsured Americans to get coverage or pay a penalty beginning January 1, 2014.
State agency Covered California negotiated medical insurance rates with a total of 13 companies and said Thursday rates for state-run insurance will vary by region, age and level of coverage.
Using an online calculator, estimated cost for a family-of-four earning $65,000 a year is $925 per month.
Those qualifying for a subsidy will pay an estimated $447 a month.
A single 40-year-old who doesn’t qualify for a government subsidy could pay from $250 a month to more than $600 a month, depending on the plan.
“We want Goldilocks pricing,” Covered California spokesman Peter Lee said at a news conference.
“We don’t want prices that are too high but we also ought to make sure there is enough money so patients can get the care they need,” he explained.
Some of the nation’s largest health insurers are among companies vying for business in the state’s new health care exchange, including Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente.
Lee said he believes the rates offered by competing companies are competitive and “good rates that people can afford”.
People who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their income for health insurance will be exempt from the federal requirement to obtain coverage, as will a single person making less and $9,750 and a married couple with two children making less than $27,100 in 2012.
Penalties for people not meeting these and other exemption requirements will be required to pay the greater of 1 percent of their income or $95 for 2014. Those penalties increase to 2 percent or $325 in 2015 and 2.5 percent or $695 in 2016.
A cost estimate calculator, and further details about Covered California health care plans, is available on the Covered California website.