Oops. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Under Obamacare, even President Obama would see a shocking jump in insurance costs by more than 48 percent in some state insurance exchanges such as Wisconsin's where he could potentially see his total premium and out of pocket costs skyrocket from $21,707 a year to $32,200.
To determine the impact on the president, Secrets and Mike Farrell, an insurance broker in southeast Wisconsin, worked up an Obamacare bill and found that the president would face the same kind of rate shock in Middle America that applicants are complaining about if he chose to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program for his namesake plan.
A “standard family” like the Obamas in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan face an insurance premium of $1,392 a month for the best plan, or a total of $16,707. Add to that the out of pocket expenses in that plan of $5,000, and the final total in a worst case scenario is $21,707.
The federal government subsidizes most of that premium and the actual employee costs are $444 a month.
For comparison, Farrell looked at what the president would pay in eastern Wisconsin where the Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is the federally sanctioned exchange offering several different plans.
He plugged in the president’s family information and even declared him a non-smoker. That system offered a comparable plan with a monthly premium of $1,625 a month, or $19,500 a year and out-of-pocket expense of $12,700, for a grand total of $32,200. In Common Ground, out of pocket expenses include includes deductible, coinsurance, and copays.
Obama has said he has stopped smoking, but a smoker would pay just a little more, with potential total costs a year of $33,273 in the Common Ground system.
It is likely that a federal worker like the president would receive a federal subsidy, but how much isn’t known. In the private business world, firms don’t have to offer a subsidy, just pay a fine, significantly boosting potential employee out-of-pocket costs just to pay premiums.
As a result, Farrell, a leader in the industry’s lobbying association in Wisconsin, said that people shopping for insurance have to consider the total package of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, especially since the administration has been cheering those with pre-existing conditions to apply.
“I believe we calculated a fair comparison by including including both annual premium and maximum out of pocket costs,” said Farrell. “As we indicated, this is a worst case scenario. The administration has often said that people buying coverage on the exchange are likely to have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. These same people would use insurance to cover expenses related to their medical condition so it is reasonable to assume they will meet their out of pocket maximums.”Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.