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This article in today's Huffington Post reports the rollout of a new workaround that
lets people see the plans and prices that will be available to them on healthcare.gov WITHOUT
having to create an account.
It doesn't show deductibles or include premium subsidies you might qualify for.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

I just went on healthcare.gov, and was allowed to go to this information with no wait or passwords or account creation. All you have to do is answer a few generic questions, like is insurance for you only, or for a family, what state and country you live in,  and it pulls up the plans. You can narrow your search to only silver, gold, etc. or to only plans from a specific company.

I had no problem navigating the site and it worked, with no hangups or delays.
I have been frustrated since day one with getting on the site, and having it accept my password.

I have my own insurance at present, but have been eager to see what would be available to me, and be able to compare it to what I presently have.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the prices, even without subsidies, as compared to the ones I had seen on the Kaiser site. They were less than half the amount on Kaiser, even before subsidies. The lack of deductible and OOP info was the major fault I found with what was presented. I imagine finding this information will require going to the site of the plan you are interested in. Then creating an account on healthcare.gov if you decide you want to purchase. Hopefully, account creation problems will be solved more easily, now that everyone doesn't have to create an account just to see the prices.

This new access to information should solve many problems, and at least get people started, and diminish some of the current frustration. It will let them know what to expect, and the probability that their costs will be less than what is posted, since most will qualify for a subsidy. It should relieve a lot of the pressure on the site at the account creation bottleneck. Check it out. I hope you are as pleasantly surprised as I was. They probably could have saved themselves a lot of bad press by doing this on day one, but at least they have done it now.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The top gold plan for me without subsidy is (8+ / 0-)

    $357 a month.  As my estimated 2014 income will be under $15K, I'm going to get a nice hunk of that paid for by a subsidy.

    Nice.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 09:08:10 AM PDT

    •  Not eligible for Obamacare at $15K? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sherri in TX

      I believe you are below poverty level, and thus need to enroll in Medicaid.

      "The Obama Administration has been an unmitigated disaster" - Osama Bin Laden

      by Explorer8939 on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 09:12:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Indiana. I'm in the marketplace. $11,400 and over (3+ / 0-)

        means you get subsidies and go on Obamacare

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

        by zenbassoon on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 09:44:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not necessarily. 11490 is poverty level. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sherri in TX, DRo

          medicaid expansion was supposed to cover those earning up to 138% of poverty level (nearly $16k).  

          if your state didn't do the expansion, you are in the same black hole as me (in PA).  no subsidies.  marketplace refers you to medicaid, which, of course, you are not eligible for.

          hope i am missing something here, and you are right.

          "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

          by MRA NY on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:00:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I took your advice and found out (4+ / 0-)

    in less than 2 minutes what was available.  I have family insurance through my employer because my husband is self-employed.  At a quick glance the rates look to be comparable but it's good to know that this is out there and so readily available. And I didn't have to register.

    tell mr. godot I'm walking the dog

    by chicago minx on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 09:24:35 AM PDT

    •  I did, too. (0+ / 0-)

      But without plan details, it's not possible to know of what value these plans are.

      I also went to the Kaiser subsidy calculator, and it stated (in the small print, wouldn't you know) that a silver plan, which is used to determine your subsidy, could have up to $5,200/yr max out-of-pocket costs. That would be crushing to someone like me on a fixed, low income. I couldn't afford to move to such a plan, so I'll have to pay way more for a gold plan.

      "All war is stupid" - JFK

      by jorogo on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 10:48:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This only works if your state has its own exchange (0+ / 0-)

    I live in Nebraska we don't and still can't get on to get information.

    "Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith...."

    by snackdoodle on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 09:36:16 AM PDT

  •  This Should Help The Site Because Less People (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sherri in TX, cotterperson, ferg, itskevin

    will be creating accounts now.  The people who really want to enroll should have an easier time.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 09:59:45 AM PDT

    •  Not really. (0+ / 0-)

      Software developers have contributed to many articles since the Healthcare.gov launch, explaining that most of the problems are due to bad software development, not traffic load.

      Slate and FMS Software Developer Blog were among the best at explaining the issues, apparently arising from the fact that no single developer or group was assigned responsibility to make it work, but rather a patchwork of developers were assigned different aspects and had no incentive to communicate well. Sounds a lot like our military hardware contracting problems.

      And now Sebelius just goes on a p.r. campaign and talks about adding capacity and ignoring the root problem. That's not gonna help.

      "All war is stupid" - JFK

      by jorogo on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:02:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did a diary on this today (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        I should add a THANKS for this link, too. I just saw that my costs for a plan that matches my current Cobra plan are less than half what I am paying now.

      •  I signed up today! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sherri in TX

        The RI state site, like the federal one, is still having some software glitches when it comes to verifying income and health insurance status. I did my application online last week, but couldn't get it to bring up the subsidized rates. So this morning I walked down to the office as they suggested, brought in my tax return and pay stub, and with the supervisor/techie's help, we all figured out how to work around the glitches. Then I was able to pick a policy, set up electronic debit, sign electronically, and I'm done. The office is open weekends and evenings, and there was a steady stream of people but no long wait. And they have both Spanish and Portugese-speaking reps.

        I also found out by chatting with them that the people working there have mostly had problems themselves with unemployment and/or not having insurance. So they really do understand how important this is. They seemed well trained on the plans and choices.

        My understanding is that both the state and federal sites are working on software design problems, not just capacity, and that it's getting better bit by bit.

        Even with having to go into the office, it's still way better than not having insurance, and having to recertify my income level every time I have any medical services so they maybe give me a partial discount on the fees.

        •  I would LOVE to be able to (0+ / 0-)

          go into an office and sit down with a human. But I'm in a state that has no exchange, so we're stuck with the national system.

          There's a button to find local help somewhere on the Healthcar.gov website, and for my location, it shows a Health and Human Services office 2 counties away. I called to set up an appointment anyhow, and the lady there told me how unfortunate it was that their office was listed as a help center when they were not, and nobody had even asked them if they wanted to be listed as such.

          "All war is stupid" - JFK

          by jorogo on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:16:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for this. Just ckd the new app (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MRA NY, DRo

    and it looks like I can save some money.  Will definitely go
    through the process now to find out all the details.  I was waiting until the rush subsided.

    Thanks for diary.

    We Must DISARM THE NRA The next life you save may be ONE OF YOUR OWN!

    by SeaTurtle on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 10:41:03 AM PDT

  •  But it's the subsidies that matter (0+ / 0-)

    and make the policies truly affordable. Without that, people will look at the website, decide it's way too much money, and go away angry at the President for leading them on.

    IMO this is worse than not being able to shop. It's like shopping in a store where the posted prices are hundreds of dollars more than you're actually going to get charged when you get to the register.

    •  Every page has a big disclaimer at the top (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Livvy5

      that says the prices posted do not include subsidies, and
      explanations of who qualifies for subsidies.

      Even when you are answering questions to get to the prices they have a disclaimer on almost every page.

      It is an entry point.

      It lets you know the worst it could be.

      If the prices are near what you were expecting or better, then you should be motivated to find out more.

      Today's problems are yesterday's solutions. Don Beck

      by Sherri in TX on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 01:07:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I checked it out and Cigna's gold plan, for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sherri in TX

    example, is cheaper than federal employee plans under FEHB.  Of course as an employer plan, the government contributes to federal employee insurance, so how cheap the ACA plan would be depends on the subsidy you qualify for, if any.

    But even without a subsidy it is a perfectly good plan that is well worth the money if you are sick and can't get insurance.
    The fact that you don't qualify for a subsidy is evidence that it is at least possible for you to afford, even though you would of course prefer to pay what you would with an employer contributing most of the premium.

    I have always looked at the ACA as a last resort, and until people wise up and realize that socialist single payer is exactly what they have in medicare, it will remain a last resort.

    Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

    by ZedMont on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 01:08:08 PM PDT

  •  No age => wrong numbers! (0+ / 0-)

    This is a nice hack but it is useless.  Health insurance on the exchanges is still age rated.  So your age is critical to the price. They don't ask your age, so you have no idea what you would pay.

    The Massachusetts Health Connector is better in this regard.  You don't need to create an account; you can enter real or pretend data and get real prices. This worked on the old Romneycare (v1) exchange and works on the new Obamacare (v2) exchange, which makes it easy to compare the two (I diaried that a few days ago).

    This page is more useful:

    https://www.healthcare.gov/...

    It's a bit clumsy (a display of a spreadsheet inside a web window), but it shows the price for an adult age 27 and an adult age 50, as well as what I suppose are representative family plan values.

    Thus, for instance, you can see that in Essex County, NJ (Newark et al), Horizon Blue Cross Advance EPO Gold costs $363.32 for a 27-year old and $619.17 at age 50.  Family is $1227.24, but not clear about parents' ages assumed.

    •  It is divided into over 50 and under 50 pricing (0+ / 0-)

      They do differentiate that much during the initial screening.
      So you are looking at age appropriate pricing.
      It may not be exact, but probably is pretty close.

      Today's problems are yesterday's solutions. Don Beck

      by Sherri in TX on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 03:06:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My initial look at plans available in Virginia (0+ / 0-)

    In my case, our family of five nonsmokers in Virginia gets health insurance through my wife's employer, and the premiums currently are $750 a month (employee portion only).  Through my employer, which is a small business, the current monthly premium for family plan coverage would be $1300 per month (of which I would pay 100%).

    I did not attempt to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the available policies on Healthcare.gov with what we now have, but roughly speaking, since we would not be eligible for subsidies, a family plan on the Healthcare.gov marketplace would cost between $1500 to $2000 a month, and would also require significant deductibles and co-pays as well.  And that would only be possible by switching to Kaiser Permanente, which I assume would mean we would have to switch all of our physicians.  Other providers were more expensive.

    So I can see why there are some folks who are getting sticker shock when they check out the offerings on Healthcare.gov.  

     

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