EDISON - Those new health exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act are off to a rocky start. People across New Jersey and the country say the enrollment website that went online this morning is not allowing them to sign up despite numerous attempts.
A field test by Kane In Your Corner confirms the problems. Just getting onto the login screen was difficult. Then, the site asked News 12 New Jersey’s Walt Kane to pick security questions, but the pull-down menu didn’t offer any. And even when that hurdle was cleared, the site never created an account, instead posting messages to try again later.
None of this is likely to inspire confidence among New Jerseyans who already have questions about how Obamacare will work. "From what I understand, initially it's expensive but there's some kind of rebate," said Kara Manz. “Outside of that, I really don't know much about it." Tom Glenn added, "Everything I see says I'm going to be paying more. So I'm not optimistic, although I'd like to be surprised."
Research by Kane In Your Corner finds how much you'll pay can vary widely, depending on who you are. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a 23-year-old who doesn't smoke will pay $250 a month for a Silver policy, the second cheapest option. And if that customer earns less than $46,000 a year, they qualify for a tax break to help pay for it.
But young people and non-smokers are always cheaper to insure. For a 59-year-old smoker, the cost of that same Silver policy jumps to an estimated $970 a month. Again, to qualify for subsidies, that person would have to earn less than $46,000.
A New Jersey family of four with no smokers would pay about the same amount. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates a 40-something couple with two children will pay a little over $1,000 a month for a Silver policy. If their combined income is under $94,000, they'll get a refund to help pay for it.
All of these figures are estimates; to get actual numbers, one would have to set up an account on the federal health care website, which Kane In Your Corner was unable to do. Also, these numbers are for Silver policies. More comprehensive Gold or Platinum policies provide better coverage, but the cost could be significantly more.