Premium estimates released for Texans enrolling in the Affordabl - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Premium estimates released for Texans enrolling in the Affordable Care Act

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Texans can begin enrolling in private health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act starting October 1.

Health coverage is expected to begin under those plans for enrolled Texans on January 1, 2014.

President Obama has been traveling the country this week talking about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. In a speech Thursday morning in Maryland, he is likely to reference a 15-page Department of Health and Human Services summary released Wednesday, September 25.

That summary breaks down what average premiums will look like in the states where the federal government will be running the health care plans, including Texas.

Governor Perry announced in November, 2012 that Texas will not create a state-based health insurance marketplace, which means running a health care exchange for Texas's uninsured or underinsured residents will fall to the federal government.

According to the HHS summary, on average, there will be 54 qualified health plans for individuals and families in Texas to choose coverage from under the Affordable Care Act.

The plans will be structured in four tiers, or "metal levels," of coverage that offer weighted plans based on actuarial value, or the measure of health care generosity for each plan. (A fifth plan, called "catastrophic," is excluded from the tiers.) Individuals and families will be able to select from plans on the "bronze" tier (60% actuarial value), "silver" (70% actuarial value), "gold" (80% actuarial value), and "platinum" (90% actuarial value).

One of the ways the plan encourages lower-income individuals and families to sign up is to offer tax credits to people who earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level.

For example, on the bronze and silver plans, a 27-year-old in Texas earning $25,000 a year would be looking at average premiums that cost between $83 and $145 a month after income-based tax credits.

In Texas, a family of four making $50,000 a year would be looking at average premiums, after tax credits, between $57 and $282 a month on the two lower-end plans. Without a tax credit, a family on the second lowest silver plan is estimated to pay $727 each month.

The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that across the state of Texas, average premiums on the lowest plans for all enrollees will range from $211 to $305 a month before eligible tax credits.

Those estimates are about $20 to $30 cheaper each month across the board than the estimated average premiums for most of the country, which range from $249 to $328, on average, for the lowest plans across 48 states.

But it's important to note that all of these estimated premiums are only averages.

There will be a different number of qualified health plans available in different areas of the state, and premium prices could vary depending on where you live, your income, and how many people are in your family.

To learn more about how you or your family might be affected, click here to access an in-depth resource page on health insurance from the Texas Department of Insurance.

You can read the 15-page Department of Health and Human Services summary here.

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