Monday, October 28, 2013

I want to thank Willam Ocasio, Kellogg professor of management and operations at Northwestern University, for saving me some money. He read my last post about my family's Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA plan under the Affordable Care Act and suggested that I could save "a lot of money" by choosing the $500/$1000 (individual/family) deductible plan instead of the plan with no deductibles.  It turns out that he is right, but it also turns out that I am still worse off than my current Massachusetts Connector plan. 

This BCBS plan under the ACA is about $350 less per month than the no-deductible plan.  Even if I run through the $1000 in deductibles during the course of the year, I break even after three months. Inexplicably, too, the visit and imaging co-pays are less than they would be in the ACA no-deductible plan.

But now, let's compare the ACA deductible plan to my current Massachusetts BCBS plan:

So, my initial point remains valid. I am still worse off under the Affordable Care Act than I was under the Massachusetts plan. My premium has gone up $220 per month (or 15%), and I will likely spend another $1000 covering the deductibles. My total percentage increase depends on how much additional care I need past my deductibles. Paradoxically, the more I need to use medical services, the smaller my annual percentage increase.

By the way, it is not clear to me how many people will have the time and inclination (and math skills) to compare the 95 plans on the Massachusetts exchange--but I guess I'm pleased that the data are available for all to see . . . including a helpful professor from Illinois!


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