The Kaiser Family Foundation studies premiums on the health insurance exchanges coming to 17 states and the District of Columbia under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Kaiser finds premiums coming in under what the Congressional Budget Office projected.
Kaiser got its South Dakota information from Sanford and Avera. Dakotacare, the third insurer applying to provide individual coverage on the exchange, didn't send Kaiser enough information.* According to Kaiser's analysis, if individuals buy the cheapest "bronze" plan, the one with the highest out-of-pocket costs for patients, Sanford will charge a monthly premium of $188 for a 25-year-old, $239 for a 40-year-old, and $508 for a 60-year-old. A family of four with two 40-year-old adults can get Sanford's bronze plan for $716 a month.
(I'm 42. For a $3500-deductible plan, Sanford currently charges me $201 a month.)
But kick in the tax credit and look what happens. The PPACA break on premiums depends on income, with the intent of making sure that folks in various income brackets pay no more than a certain bearable percentage of their income for health care. On an income of $25K, the single 25-year-old sees the effective Sanford bronze premium drop a third, to $124 a month. The family of four making $60K a year sees their health insurance cost drop more than half, to $335 a month.
Even in South Dakota, Obamacare means significant savings on health insurance. But our savings won't be as big as elsewhere. Charts on pages 4 and 5 of the Kaiser analysis show the silver and bronze premiums for single purchasers age 25 and 40 at 250% of the poverty line (sorry: there are a lot of numbers to look at here!). South Dakota has the fourth-highest bronze premiums before subsidy for both ages on the 18-state/DC list, behind Indiana, New York, and Vermont. Add the subsidies, and South Dakotans are left with the highest bronze-plan premiums in the sample. A 40-year-old single Sioux Falls resident making $28,725 a year will pay $168 a month for a bronze insurance plan. A 25-year-old single Sioux Fallsian will pay $173 (five bucks more! age before beauty!) New Yorkers, whose unsubsidized bronze premium in both age groups is $308, will see their subsidized premium drop to $111.
Obamacare's going to work. Unfortunately for South Dakotans, it's going to work even better in other states.
*I don't know if Kaiser looked at this July 25 sheet from the South Dakota Division of Insurance, but Sanford and Avera appear to be pounding Dakotacare on premiums for all levels of individual plans on the exchange.