TOPICS > Health

Health Reform Calculator: What Would You Pay?

BY Quinn Bowman  October 19, 2009 at 9:00 AM EDT

Operating room; File photo

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes education about the health care system, has created a calculator that allows users to find out what people might pay for coverage in a health insurance exchange or similar system.

The graphic below shows what a family of four making 300 percent of the federal poverty rate would pay per month for health insurance if they were not offered insurance through an employer, Medicare or Medicaid:

healthcarecalc

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Each bill would provide families different levels of government subsidies depending on incomes. Current bills provide subsidies for up to 400 percent of the poverty rate.

The chart shows that even with subsidies, many middle class families would be mandated to spend up to 12 percent of income on health insurance. As subsidies to help families and individuals who do not get health care through their employers go up, the price of each bill goes up — a challenge for lawmakers as they enter the final stages of trying to reform the health care insurance system.

Kaiser also provides these caveats for the calculator numbers:

  • Specific subsidies for cost sharing and what people might pay out-of-pocket for deductibles and coinsurance are not illustrated.
  • In many cases, individual coverage will be more comprehensive and accessible than what is typically available today in the non-group market, so premiums cannot easily be compared to what people who buy insurance on their own are paying.
  • The calculator does not apply to people with coverage available through an employer, where the firm is generally paying for a substantial portion of the insurance premium.
  • Use the Kaiser calculator here to adjust for your own income and family size. Please note that these numbers could change as bills are modified during ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill.