Jonathan Wu is co-founder of Valuepenguin.com, a consumer finance website focusing on the impact of health care reform. His company has built a tool that provides quotes for plans on the federal exchange. He said it's "incredibly misleading for people that are trying to get a sense of what they're paying."
Prices for everyone in the 49-or-under group are based on what a 27-year-old would pay. In the 50-or-older group, prices are based on what a 50-year-old would pay.
CBS News ran the numbers for a 48-year-old in Charlotte, N.C., ineligible for subsidies. According to HealthCare.gov, she would pay $231 a month, but the actual plan on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina's website costs $360, more than 50 percent higher. The difference: Blue Cross and Blue Shield requests your birthday before providing more accurate estimates.
The numbers for older Americans are even more striking. A 62-year-old in Charlotte looking for the same basic plan would get a price estimate on the government website of $394. The actual price is $634.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said the government added the "shop and browse" feature to provide "estimates of premiums without tax credits."
Chini Krishnan is the chief executive officer of GetInsured.com. His company helped designCalifornia's new health-care-exchange website. It requires people to enter their birthdays to get a real price quote. Krishnan said, "It's important that the users have a proper, trustworthy, honest brand experience when they interact with HealthCare.gov, and I think providing accurate prices is an integral component of that."