Obamacare to End Affordable NJ Health Plan for Over 100K

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 01:02 PM

By Lisa Barron

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A low-cost health insurance policy that covers more than 100,000 New Jersey residents is likely to disappear under Obamacare.

About 106,000 people in the Garden State —71 percent of those covered by the individual health market — have what are called "basic and essential," or B&E, healthcare plans, but they don't cover services that the Affordable Care Act requires every insurance policy to provide, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.

As a result, after Dec. 31, insurers in New Jersey will not be able to sell or renew several plans, including B&E policies, meaning huge cost increases for those who held them.

"In general, richer products translate into higher premiums," Larry Altman vice president of the Office of Healthcare Reform at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, told the Star-Ledger.

B&E plans, which provides minimum coverage for things like doctor's visits and procedures that don't involve a hospital stay, cost as little as $150 a month for a single male under 25 years old and $1,100 a month for a family with parents in their 40s or for two adults in their early 60s.

A standard health policy on the individual market can "easily" be three or four times that amount, according to Joel Cantor, director for the Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University.

Under the health care reform law, subsidies will be available for those whose income is at or below four-times the federal poverty level, or around $46,000 for an individual and about $94,000 for a family of four.

But it's not clear how many B&E subscribers will be eligible.

"A lot of folks on the individual market will see price increases if they're not eligible," Ward Sanders, president of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans, told the Star-Ledger.

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