Big News for Chicago-Area Obamacare Insurance Exchange: Cigna Seeks to Join

One of the nation’s largest health insurance companies plans to enter the Obamacare marketplace in the Chicago area for the first time, bringing new competition as other insurers exit or go out of business.

The Chicago Tribune has confirmed that Cigna, based in Bloomfield, Conn., has filed plans to sell health policies to individuals and families who purchase their own coverage in the individual market. If the plans are approved by Illinois regulators, Cigna will start selling policies Nov. 1, when enrollment for 2017 Obamacare coverage opens.

Read more at The Chicago Tribune

Dem Party Platform Vows Cadillac Tax Repeal, GOP Agrees. Must All Obamacare Go?

The Democratic Party released its platform, which calls for end to Obamacare tax. The Republicans have been saying it for years. Hillary has more recently agreed, and the might of the Democratic party is now saying it too. You can read the 2016 Democratic Party Platform here. But finding the official statement isn’t easy. It is buried in a singlesentence on page 35:

We will repeal the excise tax on high-cost health insurance and find revenue to offset it because we need to contain the long-term growth of health care costs, but should not risk passing on too much of the burden to workers.”

Read more at Forbes

ObamaCare Medicaid Costs Rocket 49% Above Estimates

A new government report shows that the average ObamaCare Medicaid expansion enrollee costs the federal government $6,366 in 2015, 49% above the per-person cost of $4,281 projected a year ago.

The surprising cost overrun is likely to result in increased scrutiny of Medicaid program expenses by Congress and could pose a risk to insurer profits in the one area of ObamaCare that has provided a reliable boost for their bottom lines.

UnitedHealth (UNH), which is pulling out of the individual health insurance exchange business in most states amid growing losses, is among companies profiting from the Medicaid expansion. Public companies vying for the Medicaid managed care business include Centene (CNC), Anthem (ANTM) and Molina (MOH).

Read more at Investors Business Daily

Obamacare’s Other Success, Under Threat

Obamacare changed things by establishing 10 categories of benefits that most insurance plans must cover — including hospitalization, prescription drugs, laboratory services and mental health care — and prohibiting annual or lifetime limits on those benefits. Any individual policies not meeting these requirements don’t constitute the “insurance” Americans must have to avoid paying a tax penalty.

This month, however, a federal appeals court ruled that people can buy plans with far more limited coverage. Yet those who buy such plans risk being surprised twice — first when they’re saddled with the tax penalty for not carrying adequate insurance, and then when they need care and find their coverage doesn’t go as far as they thought.

Read more at Bloomberg News

Most Insurers Lost Money in First Year of Obamacare: Study

Only about one-third of health insurers came out ahead in their first year in the ObamaCare marketplace, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund released Wednesday.

While insurers made nearly twice as much money from healthcare premiums in 2014, overall profits “diminished noticeably” because of higher payouts, according to the expansive new analysis on companies participating in the exchanges.

 Read more at The Hill

UnitedHealth Sees $200 Million More in Losses for Obamacare Insurance

UnitedHealth Group Inc. on Tuesday said it anticipated another $200 million more in losses this year on the individual insurance business created under U.S. President Barack Obama’s national healthcare reform law, citing the program’s high medical costs.

The largest U.S. health insurer said the problem was confined to this one business line, which it plans to exit in 2017 for the most part.

This was the third quarter in a row when UnitedHealth has booked anticipated losses for the program known as Obamacare. In April, it said it expected $650 million in losses on the program this year.

Read more at Newsmax

Will Pence’s Obamacare Perfidy Damage Trump?

One reason John Kasich was unacceptable to many conservatives as this year’s GOP standard bearer involves his acquiescence in Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. Many believe that, as Governor of Ohio, he has squandered the hard won 2012 Supreme Court victory concerning a provision of the “reform” law that granted the President and his apparatchiks the power to coerce the states into compliance. Despite the 7-2 SCOTUS ruling that such coercion is unconstitutional, Kasich and a few other GOP governors have voluntarily colluded with the Obama administration on Medicaid expansion. Among these Republican sell-outs was the Governor of Indiana — Mike Pence.

Read more at The Spectator

Illinois Obamacare Co-op Becomes 16th to Collapse

Sixteen Obamacare co-ops have now failed. Illinois announced that Land of Lincoln Health, a taxpayer funded Obamacare co-op, would close its doors, leaving 49,000 without insurance. The co-op now joins a list of 15 other Obamacare co-ops that have collapsed since Obamacare’s implementation. Failed co-ops have thus far cost taxpayers more than $1.7 billion in funds that may never be recovered.

Co-ops were promoted as not-for-profit alternatives to traditional insurance companies created under Obamacare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) financed co-ops with startup and solvency loans, totaling more than $2.4 billion in taxpayer dollars. They have failed to become sustainable with many collapsing amid the failure of Obamacare exchanges.

Read more at Americans for Tax Reform

Starbucks Just Exposed Obamacare’s Biggest Farce

The text of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, demands that companies provide — not just offer — the same health coverage to most rank-and-file, full-time workers as they do to the CEO.

So why did Starbucks just announce that it’s going to let its store employees opt for a lower level of insurance and more take-home pay?

One reason Starbucks is making the move is likely because a lot of workers want that option, which could save them $800 a year.

Read more at Investors Business Daily

Obamacare’s Sinking Safety Net

What’s happening in North Carolina is repeating itself in state after state across the country and represents the most acute structural threat to the marquee achievement of President Barack Obama’s presidency. A POLITICO review of 2015 financial filings from nearly 100 health plans across a dozen geographically and politically diverse states found that less than a quarter of them hit the standard break-even point for insurers, at which payouts are kept to about 85 percent of premiums taken in. And 40 percent of them had medical costs that outright exceeded the premiums they brought in. The bottom line: many of those insurers lost tens of millions of dollars on their Obamacare policies last year.

Read more at Politico