By Clark Howard, ClarkHoward.com
SEPTEMBER 21, 2013 – Right now, a lot of people are getting notices from their insurers asking them to renew their policy now for 2014. I don’t recommend that. Because starting Oct. 1, if you do buy your own coverage, you’ll have the ability to buy through health care exchanges.
As to the question of cost you’ll face when you go shopping on the exchanges, there will be a wide variation depending on state, what part of the state you live in, and what coverages you want on your plan.
There is no monolith here where it’s like, “The sky is falling and no one will be able to afford health care!” Nor is there any panacea here where health care will become the easiest and most affordable thing to buy. The future of health care is a mixed message and one that requires clarification.
Walgreens just got a lot of press because they are following other employers in going to a private exchange for health care. They said they’re doing it because of rising costs for them as an employer. Obamacare does not add or subtract to that significantly.
But I will say this: The idea of buying health care on a private exchange or a public one is smart from a free market perspective. Because it brings us one step closer to price transparency.
The cost of health care overall has been declining, relative to the size of the economy, for the first time in forever. And the growth in health care spending has not gone up as fast. The president and Congress have nothing to do with that; it’s about the recession and because those who get employer health care are becoming more responsible for a lot more of out of pocket…so we’re more careful on what we spend on health care.
One thing you won’t hear from me in the coming weeks — the politics of it all. I will stay out of the political fray and act as a referee—clarifying the rules as they unfold and explaining how they apply to you and your situation.