by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
…Until the health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment on October 1, 2013.
Today’s Wall Street Journal gives a brief rundown of how the online marketplaces will operate. Note that while insurers cannot discriminate against consumers with pre-existing conditions or deny coverage, premium costs will still fluctuate based upon four factors:
1. Age: **Under Obamacare, older people’s premiums cannot exceed three times the amount in premiums of young, healthy individuals. The young and healthy will be paying higher premiums through the marketplaces because they are responsible for holding down the older population’s premiums. If young healthy people opt out of signing up for coverage on the exchanges, adverse selection will inevitably stand in the way for older populations.
2. Tobacco use – up to 50% higher premiums.
3. Geographic area.
4. Family size.