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Cost and benefits of plans a key to Obamacare

Dec. 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- One of the authors of President Obama's healthcare reform plan said Sunday that people buying individual insurance will still be able to purchase better plans.

The only problem, said Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, is that plans with lower deductibles and larger provider networks will also face higher premiums.

"There are people in the exchanges who are offering narrower networks under the new law and you pay less for those plans," Tanden said on "Fox News Sunday." "You can pay more for a plan that has a larger (provider) network. That's the issue here; there are choices in the market where people are paying more for better benefits.

James Capretta, the head of the conservative think tank Ethics and Public Policy Center, agreed with Tanden, but said that was exactly why the so-called Obamacare strategy would leave many individual policyholders with fewer choices of doctors and hospitals. "This is going to feel a lot more like the Medicaid program with a narrow network of doctors, a narrow set of hospitals you can use," he told Fox. "If you go outside that system, you pay a lot more."

Capretta said he expects to see the prices for better insurance rise sharply in the future along with the plans' deductibles. Tanden, however, said the keystone of the Affordable Care Act is to improve the quality of insurance people carry and not leave them exposed to financial ruin by paying less for policies that are inadequate when needed to pay high-priced doctor and hospital bills.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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