UPDATE x2: ValuePenguin & HealthSherpa still listing 2014 pricing/credits

UPDATE: Someone pointed out that the more likely reason is that ValuePenguin/HealthSherpa are still listing the 2014 pricing only for most states.

Basically, ignore everything below. I would just delete the entire post but it is important to call attention to the fact that both of these 3rd-party sites are still listing 2014 pricing. ValuePenguin has a "2015 Preview" checkmark next to 11 states (you can choose between 2014 and 2015 when you go to a zip code in those states), but HealthSherpa.com doesn't seem to make it clear at all which year you're looking at pricing for.

I've already contacted both sites and strongly suggested that they make it crystal-clear on the actual rate pages whether the pricing is for 2014 or 2015.

UPDATE x2: To their credit, ValuePenguin.com has added "2014 Plans" prominently to the top of each state listing to make it more obvious. HealthSherpa.com, however, still doesn't really indicate which year their policies are for anywhere that I can see.

UPDATE x3: HealthSherpa.com has also now added a note at the top of the site clarifying which year the plans shown are for.

As I noted last night, the Healthcare.Gov comparison shopping system is now online, and is much improved over the old version in terms of the layout, speed, ease of use and so on.

However, there is one concern which has come up. Last night I plugged in my own family's states and current policy in order to compare the 2015 pricing/tax credits vs. the 2014 pricing/credits. Here's the specs:

  • Zip Code 48302 (Oakland County, Michigan)
  • 3 people in household, aged 45, 44, 8
  • No one pregnant, no smokers
  • Household income: $50,000

According to HC.gov, that would qualify us for a tax credit of $298.50 per month in 2015, up from $266.00 in 2014. Fair enough.

Meanwhile, the actual policy itself, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Premier Gold policy, runs $1,086/month before the credit, up $75 from $1,011 in 2014.

That would bring the final price down to $787.50 per month.

HOWEVER, at the suggestion of a commentor in the thread last night, I've also plugged all of the above into both ValuePenguin.com and HealthSherpa.com, and they both kick back a different response with the exact same info:

  • Tax Credit: $267.00/month
  • BCBSM Premier Gold full price: $1,022/month

This would make the final price $755.00/month.

So...the question is, which is correct, HC.gov or the 2 private calculator sites? If HC.gov is giving the wrong info, is this a "bug in the system" or is their estimate formula just a bit different (remember, these are just estimates for now; the exact tax credits might be slightly different after you actually plug in all of your data via the enrollment process itself).

Even so, you would think that the full price for the policies should be identical across all 3 sites, wouldn't you?