The editors of the Chicago Tribune note that nobody really knows what impact ObamaCare will have on insurance costs in Illinois:
But the fact is that, five days before the launch of this massively ambitious redesign of national health care, the insurance policies to be offered in Illinois are still a mystery.
Copays? Deductibles? Premiums? Still a mystery.
Will your doctor and your hospital be included in the insurance networks? Still a mystery.
State officials assured us those details will be cleared up on Oct. 1, when the Illinois health care exchange opens for business. We hope so. But the officials also told us that federal regulators still haven’t quite finished tweaking the plans and rates. That’s probably why insurers we contacted this week couldn’t answer our most basic question — will people pay more or less for insurance than they do now?
We do know that the dizzying number of plans and their costs will differ dramatically depending on where you live in the state. Apparently, there’s more competition in Chicago so Chicago has cheaper healthcare. If that’s the case “slim networks”, limiting competition, would seem to be a perverse approach.
Our best advice for Obamacare consumers is: Caveat emptor. Watch for insurance plans that hold down premium prices by restricting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to customers. Insurers “passed over major medical centers in Chicago” and elsewhere in an effort to tamp down costs, according to a new report from the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting firm. That’s a way for insurers to squeeze bigger discounts out of doctors and hospitals.
The state promises to have 1,200 “navigators” available to help guide people through the maze. We’d like to tell you the phone number or website to reach them but … that’s still a mystery.