now previewing 2015 prices and estimated “Second Lowest Cost Silver” (SLS) numbers.

Go to the website,, which works a hell of a lot better than it did last October and November.

It looks like, for the Lancaster County Pennsylvania buyers, the Second Lowest Cost Silver (SLS) plan will continue to be the Highmark Health Savings PPO 1700.   The price of this plan will set the value of the federal Premium Tax Credit.   If you already have this plan and the Advanced Premium Tax Credit, it means that your net cost will only rise or fall based on changes in your reported income for 2013.   (Unless you have some significant change in 2014 that was reported by you to the HHS.)

It looks like they are going to make the SLS system work, and that “creeping SLS” will not affect as many people as thought.   Creeping SLS was the notion that firms would come in and underbid the current second-lowest-cost silver provider, both taking away customers and lowering the available credit to everyone else who buys other plans.   This theory made no sense, because it would mean that the cost of insuring people at the Silver level was a lot less than the original insurance companies were forecasting.   Looking at Highmark’s new price for a 49-year-old ($273 last year compared to $317 this year—a 16% rise), it was unlikely that a competitor would come in and underbid.   Apparently, Highmark lowballed it last year to develop a significant client base on the Pennsylvania state Marketplace (which is the same as the federal marketplace since that’s what Pennsylvania chose to do).

So most people who buy on the Marketplace and take the Premium Tax Credit really have no worries going into 2015.   Only some screwing around by the US Supreme Court, which would be disastrous for GOP senators like Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, would upset that.

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