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Affordable Care Act: Insurance coverage comparison

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Nov 08 2013 06:12:59 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 08 2013 10:05:01 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

We wanted to see how the the new marketplace prices compare with existing coverage. We asked someone who already has coverage to compare her plan to plans she qualified for when she signed up through the Health care Marketplace.

The whole process took us a little more than half an hour, from answering questions to see if she qualified for tax credits to finding quotes for a new plan. The woman who signed up tells us she was pleasantly surprised with what she found.

Gail Cary is single, employed with Montana State University. They currently pay her health insurance but Cary agreed to go through the open enrollment process via the health insurance marketplace to see how her current rates compare.

The first step -- Cary verified her identity before submitting information to see if she qualified for tax credits. She didn't. Cary then began the application process. She only answered one question about her health: 'Do you use tobacco products?'

The website revealed 26 plans in four different categories with no plans available for catastrophic insurance. Instead, she found eight Bronze, 10 Silver, seven Gold and one Platinum plan, most of which were through Blue Cross Blue Shield and Montana Health Cooperative.

One of the Bronze plans offered a monthly premium of a little more than $420 with a deductible of $3,950. The out-of-pocket maximum totaled $6,350.    

"I knew that I would want something better than that," says Cary.

A Silver plan would have cost her around $530 a month with a $6,000 deductible and $6,000 maximum for out-of-pocket expenses.

Compare that to the Platinum plan which would have cost $654 a month with a $350 deductible and  $1,200 for maximum out-of-pocket expenses.

But Cary tells us the gold plans were most appealing. One was around $566 a month with a $700 deductible and maximum out-of-pocket expenses totaling $4,500. Doctor visits for that plan are $20.

Cary's current plan costs her employer $576 a month in premiums with a $500 deductible and maximum out-of-pocket expenses of $2,500 and that's how much she'd have to pay if she wanted to keep her current plan. She tells us that does include a little extra for dental and vision.

"It's comparable to what I have at my workplace," Cary tells us.

Cary says if she wasn't already insured, she would consider getting one through the health care exchange.

Cary tells us she's computer savvy and patient. While the website slowed down near the end of the process, all in all, she says it was smooth and easy. However, Cary tells us if you don't navigate a computer well, you'll probably need some help.