There are days when I wish that you needed more math to get through college. Then I remember that I avoided math like a veritable plague as soon as I realized that being a math minor because I figured that it’d look good on my imaginary character sheet was actually kind of weird. To be fair; obviously, so was I.
The New York Times is getting a little nervous, based on its recent examination of people who have decided that Obamacare is not worth the price. I want to walk through this particular example, because it was about the only one that had any actual numbers involved:
Ms. Williams, who earns less than $40,000 a year at a small marketing firm in Seattle, said she did not want to hand over what little discretionary money she had after rent and other living expenses to an insurance company. She has been uninsured since moving a year ago from Ohio, where she had a job with health benefits.
She qualified for a subsidy to help buy coverage through Washington’s marketplace, but said that she still would have had to pay around $135 a month for the least expensive plan, with a $6,000 deductible that she said made it unfeasible.
OK. $135/month = $1,620 a year. After subsidies. That was Ms. Williams’ cheapest plan available, and it has a $6,000 deductible. Obamacare tax = $300 a year (1% of income over $10,000) for this year, will go up eventually to $750 a year. As long as Ms. Williams has less than ($1,620 + $6,000 – $300) , or $7,320 a year in medical expenses, it makes sense to her to not pay the tax. Even when the tax goes up to 2.5% she’ll still have to incur more than $6,870 a year in expenses before she would have been better off buying a plan. Continue reading More of #Obamacare’s unfortunate math.
- The TPM reader’s situation (he’s comparing a $450*/year Obamacare tax to paying for a $3,800/year high deductible plan, and deciding that the tax is preferable) indicates that it turns out that we’ve been teaching math in our schools after all. Gotta tell you: there’s nothing like a paycheck to focus the mind on the wonders of arithmetic.
- Two years from now, that 1% tax will be 2.5%. Which means it goes up from $450/year to $1,350/year. That’s still close to one-third the price of a policy – and that’s assuming there that the rates won’t go through the roof between now and then, which is not a safe assumption to make. That’s why they call them death spirals.
- Note that the reader still hasn’t actually stopped to think about the consequences of #2 at all, at all. I will be magnanimous on that point, though: he’s a TPM reader. We were lucky to get one of them to admit that the math was problematical.
[*Remember: $95/year or 1% above first $10K. Also: I dunno why this footnote got deleted.]
And if it is, how many SAN points will I lose if I have it explained to me?