Now it’s Kaiser, so the design is pretty barebones, but the information is still really useful. You just type in your annual income, your age, and whether it’s for a family or individual. Then select whether you want it to use the House bill or the Senate bill and click the “Calculate” button. It will instantly spit back a bunch of numbers at you– but the one you’re probably most interested in is the Person/Family Premium Payment. This is how much you would actually pay per year for insurance premiums after the government subsidies kick in.
You can use this tool to get a very rough idea of how much you’ll be paying each year in insurance. But keep in mind:
- The calculator only applies to people getting insurance on the individual market through the exchanges. If you get insurance through your employer, chances are this won’t affect you at all.
- It only calculates premiums and doesn’t include cost-sharing– stuff like deductibles and copays. If you’re eligible for subsidies, then you’re also eligible for reduced cost-sharing, but the calculator won’t be able to tell you how much.
- If you currently buy insurance on the individual market, and are trying to compare what you’re paying now to what you would be paying under health reform, remember one thing. Under health reform, in many cases coverage will be more comprehensive and accessible than what’s available today. Even the most basic plans are going to have to cover certain minimum benefits, and will have to cover at least 70% of your expected health care costs- and that’s probably a lot better than the insurance you currently have.
- It only calculates costs of premiums for the basic plan. You’ll be able to buy into more extensive plans if you want, but you’d be paying more.
- The exchanges and subsidies won’t be up and running for a few years, but the calculator uses 2009 income levels. All the subsidies are based on how much you make over the poverty line, and the poverty line will increase over the next few years. Or who knows, you might get a raise.
Despite all that, Kaiser’s subsidy calculator is still a useful way to at least get an idea of how health reform will affect your wallet.