Baseline: Geezers in the Health Insurance Exchanges
because 64 seems as good a baseline as any...
I've used this calculator before (more on that later) from kff.org but there are others out there on the interwebz if you want to search for them. I've gotten approximately the same results in different places, so maybe they're just all stealing each others code.
My income (when I've had one) has mostly been in the range of 200-250% of poverty level for the past several years, so I picked $28,000 (240% of poverty level) since those were some nice round numbers. Age 64 is the oldest listed, since at 65 you'll presumably be switching to Medicare, and it's got a nice catchy little tune associated with it so I picked that one for this demo.
And that's about all that's nice about any of this.
Employer coverage? no
Maximum % of my income I'll (theoretically) have to pay for insurance premiums if I qualify for a subsidy? 7.7%
Maximum subsidy I'll qualify for? $6895 (remember this number)
That's doable. I'd have to turn off the internet and turn all the cats out to fend for themselves, but it's doable.
If I'm feeling lucky next year, I can take that $6895 subsidy and use it to buy some serious (bronze)
underwear under-insurance for the low low price of only $609 per year. That's only about $50 per month, or about 2% of my income. I could keep the cats (buy cheaper catfood) and the internet (downgrade to dialup) and still have insurance! Win!
Bonus points for noticing that that would be a real-life example of the chained CPI in action. Bonus bonus points for noticing that nowhere in there do they mention how much your out-of-pocket maximum is if you buy the bronze plan.
Speaking of out of pocket expenses, keep in mind that even though you're paying at least part of your insurance premiums out of your own money, that expense is not counted as "out of pocket." My additional out-of-pocket maximum expenditure, should I get expensively sick, is (theoretically) $5200. Wait... 5200/28000=0.1857142857142857, or approximately 18.5% of my income.
Some months ago this same calculator was telling me that my maximum out-of-pocket was approximately $3200, not $5200 (nope, I have no screen shots). I have no clue whether the law has changed, or whether something was wrong with the old calculator, or whether something is wrong with the new calculator. Whatever, it's a baseline.
So, as it stands right now, if I buy silver insurance in 2014 and get sick, I stand to lose 7.71+18.57=26.3% of my income. I'm not going to have to turn my cats loose, I'm going to have to eat them.