Come 2017, thousands of New York’s Obamacare users will wake up to double-digit premium hikes, the latest group of consumers affected by Affordable Care Act cost increases as insurers hemorrhage money from healthcare exchanges.
In a statement on Friday announcing 2017 premiums, NY’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) said after weighing insurer requests, the state settled on an average hike of 16.6 percent for individual exchange users in the state, while small group users will see a lower average increase of over 8 percent.
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.
The last thing Democrats want to contend with just a week before the 2016 presidential election is an outcry over double-digit insurance hikes as millions of Americans begin signing up for Obamacare.
But that looks increasingly likely as health plans socked by Obamacare losses look to regain their financial footing by raising rates.
Hillary Clinton – whose 2008 healthcare plan was savaged by Obama on the campaign trail before he adopted it as it own upon assuming office — feels obligated to declare that Obamacare is working, a fantasy that results in this sort of aloof dissembling when confronted with real people’s painful realities.
And yet Clinton’s daughter in a video effectively discredits the central premise of the so-called “Affordable” Care Act, assuring voters that her mother will consider a litany of options (including unilateral executive action) to “fix” the problem that Obamacare was ostensibly passed to solve once and for all.
Coverage disruptions due to complex paperwork requirements seem commonplace in the health law’s system of subsidized private insurance, which currently covers about 12.7 million people.
The government says about 470,000 people had coverage terminated through Sept. 30 last year because of unresolved documentation issues involving citizenship and immigration. During the same time, more than 1 million households had their financial assistance “adjusted” because of income discrepancies. Advocates say “adjusted” usually means the subsidies get eliminated.
About 43,000 Obamacare enrollees are bearing the full cost of their insurance plans after losing the tax credits that are meant to make coverage more affordable.
Those enrollees no longer receive Obamacare tax credits because they failed to file a tax return for 2014, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The number has never before been released.
Read more at The Hill
According to Jon Offredo (writing in The News Journal / Delaware Online, 9/30) “Obamacare health plans in Delaware just got more expensive.”
Those living in The Diamond State can thank the federal government. According to Offredo’s News Journal account, “The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service approved double-digit rate hikes submitted by the Delaware Department of Insurance for plans offered on the state’s health insurance marketplace.” Offredo also offers this, “Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart released the 2016 health insurance rates Tuesday, saying that individual plan rates for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield would increase 22.4 and by 16 percent for Aetna Life Insurance plans.”
Meanwhile, Obamacare-related premium Increases are anticipated in other U.S. states. According to the News Journal story, “Blue Cross Blue Shield requested for rate increases of about 30 percent in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Minnesota.”
At one point, a two year battle took place in the Florida State Legislature (c. 2013-2015) – resulting in the granting of powers (or at least the return of same) to state regulators, letting them approve health insurers rate increases.
Now such power may be coming home to roost. In a recent article in The Hill, by Sarah Ferris, who cites the two year battle above, says ”The cost of Obamacare plans in Florida will rise about 9.2 percent next year,” . . . “Under the new rates, the average monthly premium will rise to $400 next year, up from $384, not taking into account Obamacare subsidies.”
While a number approaching 10 percent for a rate increase of any kind may not be music to the ears of some, Ferris’ Hill story points out, “The state’s new negotiating abilities were clear in some cases. Aetna, one of the largest companies, had proposed a rate hike of 20.9 percent. The final rate was 13.9 percent.”
Back in 2013, in an interview with NBC News, Barack Obama said (when it came to healthcare) his goal was “to do everything we can to make sure that people are finding themselves in a good position, a better position than they were before this happened.”
But, a recent opinion by the Editorial Board of The Oklahoman (online 8/15) says: “Instead millions of Americans have been left less financially secure, not in spite of the healthcare law, but because of it.”
The editorial adds, “President Barack Obama famously promised that if people liked their current insurance policies, they could keep them under the Affordable Care Act. That was quickly proven false as associated regulations forced cancellation of countless existing insurance plans.”
Obama subsequently expressed his view of the terminated health insurance policies as “substandard plans.” The president’s main contention was that such plans would be succeeded by “quality, comprehensive coverage.”
The Oklahoman editorial also cites a recent article in Investor’s Business Daily by Jed Graham, describing the “primary impact” of the ACA’s individual mandate which “will be to compel low-income households to buy bronze coverage with deductibles of up to $6,850 per adult that are well beyond their capacity to afford.”
The Oklahoman also claims, “Currently, the overwhelming majority of people in those income groups choose to go uninsured and pay the individual penalty, rather than pay the higher price of Obamacare policies.”
Scott W. Atlas, physician and Hoover Institution senior fellow, writes in The Wall Street Journal (online, 6/28) detailing certain Obamacare flaws which must be resolved if the Affordable Care Act itself is to remain viable. Dr. Atlas elaborates: “To revive and expand private health insurance, the first step is to reduce onerous regulatory requirements. This means eliminating unnecessary coverage mandates that have ballooned under Obamacare.” Dr. Atlas also says, “Ironically, it is the growing government centralization of health insurance at the expense of private insurance that must be addressed.” Citing a specific ACA-related healthcare cost, as one example of an Obamacare deficiency, Dr. Atlas WSJ story adds, “So-called minimum essential benefits, including unproven treatments by chiropractors, along with zero co-pay preventative services, have increased prices by as much as 10 percent.”