According to a report about the Health Insurance Marketplaces issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), "the average premium nationally for the second lowest cost silver plan will be $328 [a month] before tax credits."

However, HHS says about 6 out of 10 of the uninsured today will be eligible for tax credits, meaning they should be able to find coverage in the marketplaces for $100 a month or less, tax rebate included. HHS notes:

"For a family of four in Dallas with an income of $50,000 per year, the lowest bronze plan would cost only $26 per month, taking into account tax credits."

(The Bronze Plan is the least expensive premium-wise of all marketplace plans but covers only 60 percent of all medical expenses. The consumer must cover the difference.)

The tax credits are paid monthly to the insurance companies, so the consumer doesn't have to wait for a year-end refund. Tax credits are available for any individual or family entity earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty rate, which is $11,490 for a single person, $15,510 for a couple and $23,550 for a family of four as in the Dallas example above (working out to a family income of $94,200 a year at 400 percent). Rates are higher in Hawaii and Alaska because of the higher cost of living in those states.

“We are excited to see that rates in the Marketplace are even lower than originally projected,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, referring to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The marketplaces commence operations on Oct. 1. Sixteen states will be operating their own insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, while the federal government will manage an umbrella marketplace for all the others.