Determining Health Insurance Expense

Health insurance costs for the "basic needs" budget on the Economic Stability Indicator (ESI) were calculated using the Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator sponsored by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The Kaiser Calculator provides estimates of health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own through Minnesota's health insurance exchange (or MNSure), which was created as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Kaiser Calculator takes into account the variances that are allowed by the ACA in determining health insurance pricing and subsidies. These include income, age, family size, and county of residence (based on regional pricing). The premium estimates on ESI use the second lowest cost Silver Plan available on MNSure, which is also the plan used to determine tax subsidies. Since ESI does not ask for adult ages, the Kaiser premium calculations were averaged for adults aged 30 to 45. 

ESI only includes premium costs.  A Silver Plan purchased on MNSure has a 70/30 actuarial value, which means a family would pay approximately 30% of all health care costs in the form of deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. These additional costs are NOT accounted for in the default "basic needs" budget used for ESI.  The ESI also assumes the family does not have access to employer sponsored insurance. However, a monthly cost for employer sponsored insurance could be entered in place of the default health insurance expense to reflect this situation.


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