Obamacare Silver: Smart Choice or a Sign of Failure?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has continued to remain controversial. With the latest state figures, some analysts have noticed that Obamacare silver plans have been very popular. The question, though, is whether that's a good sign or a bad sign for Obamacare's success or failure.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at data from six states that points to more than half of all those signing up choosing silver plans. Dan notes that on one hand, silver-plan adoption suggests that people want more health-care coverage than bronze plans provide. Yet it also points to the fact that choosing a silver plan is necessary to be eligible for certain subsidies, such as cost-sharing of deductibles and copayments. Dan believes that young people signing up for silver plans simply points to their need for subsidized coverage, explaining how that fact should arguably be good news for insurers UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) and WellPoint (NYSE: ANTM  ) as well as hospital companies Community Health (NYSE: CYH  ) and HCA Holdings (NYSE: HCA  ) .

When silver shines brighter than gold
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  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 8:30 AM, CountryRetroGal wrote:

    I wonder if the Insurers will count individual enrollees from Outside the Exchanges in their determination of the success of the plans and future rate changes? I purchase Individual Insurance for myself (60, F, no chronic health issues). I am not eligible for cost sharing or subsidies, so I purchased directly from the insurer - not on the exchange. I believe a LOT of people who are not eligible for subsidies will purchase OFF the exchange. I chose a Silver PPO plan because of cost and the fact that it offered an HSA. I am betting that I will be healthy and that any services I need will be IN- NETWORK because it's Out of Net deductible is SO HIGH. My other consideration was the Gold PPO. I saved $200/ mo on Premiums with the Silver HSA over the Gold non-HSA. Time will tell if I made the right decision. I hope as many options will be available next year in case I want to change.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 3:45 PM, yahtahhey wrote:

    I'm fairly certain that the subsidies may be applied to Bronze plans (but not catastrophic). Can you double check that?

    I'm with Country Girl in that I suspect a considerable number of enrollees may have gone directly to the insurer, particularly those who had plans last year (which of course would imply the buyer does not qualify for a subsidy this year).

    California says young people are signing up OK, and they have in the past in Massachusetts. Its hard to imagine that there will be vast state-to-state differences after the smoke settles. The prices for policies for young people are so low (around $135 or so in many places) its hard to believe that there is all that much subsidization going on.

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