A First: Obamacare Premiums to Decline in Georgia

The Obamacare rates for next year are in, and it’s a first: Rates are going down.

Following years of steep price hikes, two of the four companies that offer plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange in Georgia, also known as Obamacare, have proposed to lower their rates next year from what they charged in 2018.

According to figures for the individual insurance market released Thursday by the state Department of Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is proposing a tiny decrease in premiums for next year, with 2019 premium prices that are on average 0.3 percent lower than 2018’s premiums. Alliant Health Plans is decreasing its premiums by 10 percent… Read More at AJC.com

Most Obamacare Enrollees Could Pay Less for Policies Next Year

While it’s true that premiums for the popular silver Obamacare plan could shoot higher for 2018, most enrollees could actually end up paying less for coverage next year.

In fact, more consumers will be able to snag policies that will cost them nothing each month.

How can that be?

It’s because premium subsidies are soaring too, making many plans on the exchanges more affordable.

Read more at CNN

Average Health Insurance Premiums Fell After Obamacare Took Effect, Study Says

You might not believe it’s true, but more cost less after Obamacare began, a new analysis claims.

The average premiums in the nation’s individual health insurance market “actually dropped significantly” in 2014, the year that the Affordable Care Act took effect, “even while consumers got better coverage,” according to two health-care analysts whose findings challenge a popular narrative about Obamacare prices.

“In other words, people are getting more for less under the ACA,” wrote Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg in the article about their findings, published on the HealthAffairs Blog.

Read more at CNBC

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

With Or Without Obamacare, Republicans Should Focus on Lowering Healthcare Costs

Noted Obamacare critic Arvik Roy, a Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow For Policy Research, is being heard from again. This time in Forbes Magazine (online, Aug. 20).

Roy’s Forbes report says the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicates that by the time of the next U.S. presidential election, in 2016, 36 million Americans are projected to be on some sort of an Obamacare-oriented health insurance plan. Roy says, “Whether they admit it or not, no Republican can win the White House in 2016 campaigning on taking away health coverage for 26 million people.”

Roy adds three points to support his arguments, “The overall framework is fairly simple: First, de-regulate the Obamacare exchanges so people can truly shop for coverage they want and need. Second, migrate Medicaid enrollees and future retirees onto the reformed exchanges. Third, tackle the problem of consolidated hospital systems that exploit their market power to charge prices far above what a free market would bear.”

Read more at Forbes

Obamacare Late Surge May Signal Young, Healthy Sign-Ups

More than 1 million people (arguably procrastinators) waited until the last 5 days to sign up for health coverage under the auspices of the ACA. Preliminary indicators show many were both young and minorities. This may be good news for health insurers who are concerned that customers enrolling in health plans through the health insurance exchanges are sicker and older than the average American.

More than 5.4 million adults may have gained health insurance since the start of enrollment in Obamacare plans through early March, according to a survey released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That would bring the percentage of uninsured Americans to 15.2 percent from 17.9 percent in September, the Princeton, New Jersey-based non-profit group said. The survey of 7,500 adults younger than age 65 doesn’t include the late surge of people who selected plans close to the March 31 deadline, the group also said.

Read more at BloombergBusinessweek.com

Obamacare Premiums Vary Greatly by State, City

Under Obamacare, depending on where you live and what kind of plan you select, the insurance rate you’ll pay will vary greatly. For example, a 40-year-old earning $50,000 and choosing the medium-priced “silver” plan would pay, on average, $328 a month. Some will pay a lot more, some a lot less, depending on their location. But addition to the state-to-state differences, rates vary from city to city within the state. In New York City, a 40-year-old making $50,000 a year would pay an average of $415, but upstate in Ithaca, N.Y., the average is $446, or $372 more a year.

Read more at CBS News

Hey, GOP! Get Smart Fighting Obamacare

Although many congressional Republicans want to defund ObamaCare, a stalemate involving the budget resolution would lead to a government shutdown, and the GOP would have to retreat.

The author suggest touting attractive pro-patient, pro-free-market reforms, which the House Republican leadership could quickly assemble into a bill. They should then get out the message and mobilize support for the critical 2014 elections, utilizing such grass-roots organizations as FreedomWorks and numerous Tea Party groups, not to mention talk radio and websites like Breitbart, The Daily Caller, RedState and others.

The author suggests that the provisions that should be included in the counter-Obama legislation are as follows:

–Nationwide shopping for insurance.

–No Medicare money to be used for financing ObamaCare.

–Eat your own cooking. (Congress and its staff, under ObamaCare, are supposed to buy insurance on an ObamaCare exchange.)

–Encourage high-risk pools.

–Push medical-malpractice reform.

–Eliminate ObamaCare’s mandated benefits. (They artificially raise insurance costs. Let people decide what they want.)

There are other reforms that could be included in an omnibus package or in separate bills.

Read more at Forbes

Here’s a Really Helpful Chart on Premiums under Obamacare

A chart is reproduced from a Health and Human Services report summarizing what we know, thus far, about the cost of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Read more at The Washington Post