Posts Tagged ‘premium’
September 12th, 2014 at 1:31 pm
Workers Paying More for Health Insurance under ObamaCare

As ObamaCare’s next open enrollment period draws near, some of the controversial law’s biggest backers are cheering a seven city survey claiming that health insurance premiums associated with it are dropping.

This leads liberal health policy expert Ezra Klein of Vox to say that “Obama’s signature accomplishment is succeeding beyond all reasonable expectation.”

But not if you get your health insurance from your employer, however.

“Employees are on the hook for more and more of their health care costs. Premiums are increasing so slowly in part because employers are continuing to shift toward higher deductibles, requiring employees to pay more out of their own pockets before their health care plans kick in,” explains Sam Baker in National Journal.

Comparing monthly premium rates year-to-year makes sense if that’s the best single indicator of how ObamaCare is impacting paychecks. But it isn’t. For employees working in the real economy the shift to high deductible plans means more out-of-pocket spending every time they visit the doctor.

Translation: ObamaCare makes health insurance for workers more expensive.

When it comes to measuring ObamaCare’s success, we need to make sure we’re looking at the most relevant data. Otherwise, we risk scoring political points at the expense of the truth.

April 14th, 2014 at 4:57 pm
Will Sebelius’ Replacement Follow Her Lawless Lead?

Here’s a suggested question for GOP Senators to ask Sylvia Burwell – President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services – at her confirmation hearing next month.

Studies by the RAND Corporation and Goldman Sachs estimate as much as 20 percent of the claimed 7.5 million ObamaCare enrollments have not paid their first month’s premiums.

When enrollees start seeing how much their deductibles are – commonly $3,000 to $5,000 – many more may choose to stop paying ObamaCare’s higher out-of-pocket expenses.

If that happens, it’s really bad news for doctors and hospitals.

“Section 1412 of the health law gives consumers a 90-day ‘grace period’ before their subsidized plan is canceled for nonpayment. But insurers only have to keep paying doctors and hospitals for 30 days. The next 60 days of care on the care provider,” explains Betsy McCaughey.

“[I]t could pose a significant financial risk for medical practices,” the American Medical Association warns.

The HHS Secretary has no express power to bail out such care providers.

However, under the previous Secretary, the Department of Health and Human Services didn’t shy away from spending $8 billion without congressional authorization to hide Medicare Advantage cuts before the 2012 presidential election.

This and many other extra-legal actions by Secretary Sebelius have come to define HHS as the most powerful domestic federal agency.

Ms. Burwell, Do you think the absence of express authority to bail out care providers in the above situation limits you in any way from spending money for this purpose?

March 29th, 2014 at 7:52 pm
Latest ObamaCare Delay an Attempt to Hold Down Rate Spikes?

Megan McArdle posits three reasons why the Obama administration extended the enrollment deadline for purchasing insurance through, the federal ObamaCare exchange.

The most interesting, and to my mind most plausible, is that pushing the deadline into mid-April will make it more difficult for insurers to calculate next year’s premiums.

“Extending open enrollment, which is essentially what they’re doing, would then be a desperate play to get more young, healthy customers into the exchanges, and perhaps to make it a bit harder for insurers to raise rates,” writes McArdle. “In some states, insurers have to file preliminary rate increases in May. And thanks to this latest extension, they won’t have final data to back up any requests for a premium hike.”

Originally, the Obama administration estimated it needed 40 percent of enrollments to be from young and healthy people to avoid rate spikes the following year. With the current mix stuck at only 25 percent, insurers are signaling that prices will go up next year to cover the likely costs of insuring an older and sicker population than anticipated.

But with this extension the Obama administration is putting insurers in a bind. Do they assume the 25 percent number will hold and justify rate increases to state regulators using that assumption? Or do they wait and see if a last-ditch push to inflate the number of young and healthy enrollees reaches the magic 40 percent threshold?

The dilemma for the insurance companies is just the most recent example of how bending the law for one group punishes another. True, many people won’t mind that insurance carriers are the ones holding the bag this time, but that just underscores the growing lack of resistance to arbitrary regulation. Today, it’s unpopular insurance companies. Tomorrow, it’s you.

October 4th, 2013 at 12:05 pm
California’s Obamacare Exchange Can’t Tell the Truth

Disfiguring the truth seems to be one of the primary skill sets at Covered California, the state’s Obamacare-aligned insurance exchange.

When the online platform launched on Tuesday, it erroneously stated receiving 5 million hits. A day later, that number was revised down to 645,000.

“Someone misspoke and thought it was indeed 5 million hits. That was incorrect,” said a Covered California spokesman.

This isn’t the first time the Golden State’s Obamacare exchange has been caught misstating the truth.

Earlier this year it misleadingly announced that individual insurance premiums in 2014 would be lower than they are today. The news was quickly circulated as a refutation of the criticism that Obamacare’s heightened coverage requirements will necessarily result in more expensive plans.

But Covered California’s own press release showed that the exchange was comparing apples to oranges. Instead of comparing individual insurance rates from 2013 to 2014, it compared small business rates from 2013 to individual rates in 2014. This sleight-of-hand had the effect of creating a more favorable (i.e. higher) baseline from which to compare Obamacare’s higher individual rates.

In other words, it was a distortion meant to persuade people that Obamacare does the opposite of what it actually did.

And now Covered California is issuing “incorrect” opening day numbers that artificially inflate its popularity.

Call me a cynic, but I think I see a pattern here…

August 6th, 2013 at 7:25 pm
Ready for Your ObamaCare ID?

With just eight weeks to go until ObamaCare’s October 1 enrollment, the Health and Human Services department is scrambling to meet the deadline.

Its first order of business: A log-in portal where users can create a personal account.

In a few clicks you can get a sense of the kind of information you’ll be sharing via your account: family size, personal income, health history, age, gender and employment status.

Yes, some level of government likely has access to most if not all of this information, but it is ObamaCare’s user account that will, for the first time, house all of it in one place.

It will then be the Federal Data Hub’s job to share this information with the applicable state-based insurance exchange, and check your entries against another federal database to ensure accuracy.

As I’ve written before, the two federal databases will attract attention from hackers and identity thieves.

The ObamaCare user account creates a third inviting target.

Enjoy your privacy, while it lasts.

May 31st, 2013 at 6:06 pm
Cal ObamaCare Exchange WILL Increase Insurance Rates

Despite initial reports that California’s ObamaCare health insurance exchange will offer plans that are cheaper than currently available, a closer look at the data shows that the state specializing in concocting fake budgets also lied about the supposed cost savings.

Initially, Covered California, the state’s ObamaCare-ready exchange, announced that insurance rates would drop up to “29 percent below the 2013 average,” prompting many of the health law’s defenders to claim victory over critics who estimate double-digit increases.

But the bloom fell off the rose fast. In order to make the new prices look as favorable as possible, Covered California didn’t compare current individual insurance rates to future individual rates. Instead, it compared current small business rates to future individual rates, and reported the “savings” of 29 percent.

Many conservative analysts caught the switch, and deconstructed the ploy. Avik Roy compared current individual rates in California to future individual rates under ObamaCare and surprise, surprise, confirmed that rates will increase between 64 – 146 percent.

Of course, much of the damage from the false information has already been done. I was in a meeting hours after the rates were announced and was greeted by a liberal friend smiling and saying something along the lines of, “Well, how about that; it looks like ObamaCare is better than your side thought all along. Have you seen the California numbers yet?”

At the time I’d only heard the summaries, none of which drew attention to the obvious apples-and-oranges comparison by Covered California. A week later, none of the liberal cheerleaders for the California miracle are going out of their way to correct the record.

At least now we know the truth. Too bad the left and their friends in the media don’t seem to be interested.