CBS: Healthcare.gov “dramatically underestimates costs” in new estimate feature

posted at 9:21 am on October 23, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Well, the good news is that HHS has actually tried to fix a few things on the Healthcare.gov website.  The bad news is that the fixes make the confusion and incompetence even worse.  After hearing a hailstorm of criticism over the necessity to completely enroll before seeing premium prices, HHS added a premium estimator on the front page of the website.  However, unless you are exactly 27 or 50 years old, the estimates you get will wildly undershoot what you’ll be forced to pay.

CBS reports that industry analysts can’t believe what they are seeing:

As President Obama promises to fix HealthCare.gov, his administration is touting what it calls “improvements” in design, specifically a feature that allows you to “See Plans Now.” White House press secretary Jay Carney has said, “Americans across the country can type in their zip code and shop and browse.”

Industry analysts, such as Jonathan Wu, point to how the website lumps people only into two broad categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.”

Wu said it’s “incredibly misleading for people that are trying to get a sense of what they’re paying.”

Prices for everyone in the 49-or-under group are based on what a 27-year-old would pay. In the 50-or-older group, prices are based on what a 50-year-old would pay.

CBS News ran the numbers for a 48-year-old in Charlotte, N.C., ineligible for subsidies. According to HealthCare.gov, she would pay $231 a month, but the actual plan on BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina’s website costs $360, more than a 50 percent increase. The difference: BlueCross BlueShield requests your birthday before providing more accurate estimates.

The numbers for older Americans are even more striking. A 62-year-old in Charlotte looking for the same basic plan would get a price estimate on the government website of $394. The actual price is $634.

What part of “trust us to fix what we couldn’t deliver correctly in the first place” do industry analysts not understand?

Update: “49 or 50″ should have been “27 or 50.” I’ve fixed it above; thanks to CBRecluse on Twitter for the correction.


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Only The Stupid Party would want a moratorium on the implementation of this train wreck.

Labamigo on October 23, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Rubio leading the charge.
We really need to stop these dang RINOs so we can all just sit back with some beer and popcorn and watch the show.

dentarthurdent on October 23, 2013 at 12:04 PM

This is going to be like watching an 18th century blacksmith repair a Prius.
Oldnuke on October 23, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Or, maybe like watching a 21st century computer tech repair a broken axle on a Conestoga wagon. “Anyone got any super-glue or duct tape?”

Marcola on October 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM

If your state does not have its own exchange, you can find all your pricing right here:

https://data.healthcare.gov/dataset/QHP-Individual-Medical-Landscape/ba45-xusy

BVM on October 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Or, maybe like watching a 21st century computer tech repair a broken axle on a Conestoga wagon. “Anyone got any super-glue or duct tape?”

Marcola on October 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Ya – yours is more along the line I was thinking.
The designated WH “geniuses” trying to do web design.
I picture Sheldon (Big Bang) trying to fix Penny’s car.

dentarthurdent on October 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Juan Williams: It’s the Republicans fault!

Conservative4Ever on October 23, 2013 at 9:32 AM

…always!

KOOLAID2 on October 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

The amazing thing is that there will be fewer errors for applications processed through healthcare.gov than those processed by hand.

Hot Gas on October 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

If your state does not have its own exchange, you can find all your pricing right here:

https://data.healthcare.gov/dataset/QHP-Individual-Medical-Landscape/ba45-xusy

BVM on October 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Useful, but only includes the two ages 27 and 50.

slickwillie2001 on October 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Useful, but only includes the two ages 27 and 50.

slickwillie2001 on October 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

http://www.valuepenguin.com/

NotCoach on October 23, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Based on age?

My work has Aetna for medical coverage.

Aetna has gone the ‘redistribute the wealth’ route.

After selecting optional spouse and no. of dependents coverage, the premiums are based on a person’s Salary. The more you make, the more it costs.

TerryW on October 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

If a private company did this, not only would the Better Business Bureau be on their case, they would also be fined/sued for false advertising. Only in the government world can you tell people one thing and not be held accountable for it.

djaymick on October 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM

It stems from the Obama administration’s efforts to improve its health care website.

So don’t blame Barky! He’s hard at it!

PaddyORyan on October 23, 2013 at 1:33 PM

You know in your heart every shade tree programmer was promised a piece of the healthcare pie and all spoke in a different programming language. The dems were believing their own lies and expounded them in a continuos song all the dens know by heart. The Republicans would like it cleared up because they too smell the tons of money that will be dumped into their laps to guarantee their time in office. It won’t go away but the public will get sick of the constant bickering and allow another huge tax to go around their necks.

mixplix on October 23, 2013 at 1:46 PM

If your state does not have its own exchange, you can find all your pricing right here:

https://data.healthcare.gov/dataset/QHP-Individual-Medical-Landscape/ba45-xusy

BVM on October 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Yup, that’s pretty much the backdoor to what you’d find on the healthcare.gov site. So the numbers are vague, and horribly inaccurate – as cited in the CBS report. Notice none of these will factor in your health.

So two people of similar age, working in the same city, doing similar work, earning similar paychecks will be quoted the same rate. Even though one may be grossly overweight, a smoker and have high cholesterol – while the other is in tip-top shape and has a clean bill of health. No incentive to get healthy – no incentive to stay healthy.

Hill60 on October 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Ed –
You mean the websites aren’t working perfectly on day one twenty three?

verbaluce on October 1, 2013 at 10:18 AM

NotCoach on October 23, 2013 at 9:25 AM

+1,000,000 +23,000,000

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 23, 2013 at 7:56 PM

“A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said the government added the ‘shop and browse’ feature to provide ‘estimates of premiums without tax credits.’”

Nonsense. The feature was added because of widespread criticism that the web site intentionally hid the premiums until after the user had entered his personal information.

Colony14 on October 23, 2013 at 11:59 PM

Here’s what Botox Pelosi said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoE1R-xH5To

tmgrant on October 25, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Comment pages: 1 2