How Not to Cover Coverage

From an article in yesterday’s New York Times, about the closing of the enrollment period for Obamacare health insurance policies in New Jersey. The couple, Ana Gonzalez and Celso Morales, had earlier been described as coming to a health center in Plainfield, New Jersey in order to “sign up for a subsidized health plan.”

Ms. Gonzalez and Mr. Morales, who moved to New Jersey from Puerto Rico, came to sign up for coverage on the advice of one of his co-workers after Mr. Morales was told he has diabetes. The couple — she is 54 and he is 58 — qualified for Medicaid in Puerto Rico, but in New Jersey, their income is too high. They earn about $35,000 a year between her job at Target and his work laying stones for a construction company. With the Affordable Care Act tax credit, they will pay just under $200 a month to cover the two of them, a sum that seemed to please Ms. Gonzalez.

How useful is this information if we don’t know how high their deductible is or what their coverage is like? No middle- or upper-middle class person that I know would be content to know that their health insurance premium was $200/month without knowing anything else about their policy or coverage. But for some reason, seasoned reporters for The New York Times seem to think that we’re to judge this couple’s insurance situation knowing just that. Continue reading