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

Obamacare Likely to Stick on the Books Until 2020

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare, is hanging on by the skin of its teeth. So far, the act has proven resilient against Republican efforts to repeal it and the Trump administration’s attempts to defund it – but with premiums projected to soar by an average of 15% in 2019, the future of the ACA looks very dark.

Nothing drastic is likely to happen to the ACA before the midterm elections on November 06, according to Eric Wilson, principal of Wilson Associates, a company that specializes in healthcare insurance. Obamacare is likely to stick on the books until 2020 because “Congress needs time to get things done,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the plan is almost repealing itself in a lot of ways. Rates are increasing, deductibles are getting higher, and more and more people are opting out of the system. What’s happening now is that healthy people are opting out, leaving primarily sick people in the pool, which means rates are reacting like crazy,” Wilson told Insurance Business… Read More at Business Insurance Magazine

Obamacare Finds Stability Under Siege

Republicans who have been thwarted in their attempts to repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care law appear instead to have settled on a strategy of dismantling the law piece by piece. But despite a series of seemingly crippling blows since Donald Trump took office, Obamacare has proved hard to kill.

As recently as this month, the Trump administration announced it would temporarily halt what are called “risk-adjustment payments” in the wake of a March federal court order that questioned the formula by which the payments were calculated. The payments required providers with fewer sick patients to transfer some funds to providers that have higher numbers of patients needing more expensive care, spreading out the cost of covering sicker patients as they obtained insurance. One of a series of moves designed to protect insurers participating in Obamacare, it was widely seen as a way to prevent providers from seeking out only the healthiest patients as customers.

Some fear that the move, involving billions of dollars in payments, could lead providers to raise premiums to offset the added risks if it were made permanent – the latest in what seem to be frequent disruptions of the market that show no sign of abating… Read More at US News & World Report

Premium Hikes Reignite the ObamaCare Wars

The ObamaCare premium wars are back.

The cost of health insurance plans on the ObamaCare exchanges could jump in the coming weeks, some by double digits, inflaming the issue ahead of the midterm elections.

Democrats argue the price increases are the result of what they refer to as “Republican sabotage.” They contend that, since the GOP controls Congress and the White House, the price hikes are their responsibility — and that’s the message they plan to take into the fall campaign.

Read More at The Hill

Dems in Denial on Why ObamaCare Premiums Are Through the Roof

America has a health-insurance problem because politicians would rather lie about it than solve it.

ObamaCare regulations caused premiums for people buying their own insurance to more than double between 2013 and 2017, then soar even higher in 2018. With huge hikes predicted again in 2019, ObamaCare will have caused premiums to triple in six years. Ouch. But instead of telling the truth about why this is happening, politicians are dishing out lies.

Read More at New York Post

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

Obamacare Making Biz Sick

Although the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) regulations can lower premiums for individuals, it can raise them for small groups — primarily small businesses — by restricting the number of rating factors that health insurers use in setting premiums, said Peter Forman, president of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s an ironic and tragic step, considering Massachusetts was the model for the Affordable Care Act,” said Jon Hurst of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

Read more at The Boston Herald