Have you received your 2017 healthcare insurance premium renewal yet? If not, hold on to your hat; they’re going through the roof!
I met with my healthcare insurance broker this week and got the bad news. The premiums for my employees have gone up 13% across the board. But the good news is they didn’t go up as much as many other Americans will experience! In the state of Florida, rate increases are averaging 20%.
Louise Radnofsky reports in The Wall Street Journal the alarming rate increases in many other states. Rate increases of 20% have been allowed in the states of Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland and Oregon and similar rate increases from the same carriers are happening in Colorado and Idaho. Rates are rising an average of 30% in the states of Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas. It actually gets worse.
In the states of Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, the approved rate increases for the market leader top 50%. In New Mexico, the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan agreed to resume selling plans through the online exchanges after sitting out last year, but only after being allowed to increase rates 93% over their 2015 level!Last, but certainly not least, according to the Wall Street Journal editorial board, “Arizona premiums will rise a mind-boggling 116%, and only two insurers are still selling plans.”
Even the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now concedes that the average premium increase will be above 25% for 2017. Naturally, the Obama administration tries to spin these rate increases by pointing out that many people receive subsidies. “Headline rates do not reflect what most consumers actually pay,” said Marjorie Connolly, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS contends about 85% of those who purchase policies on the exchanges are getting subsidies but a more accurate number is about half according to Robert Laszewski, insurance industry analyst. (See last post Half of ObamaCare Enrollees Not Subsidized.)
The situation is serious,” said Alissa Fox, senior vice president of the Office of Policy and Representation for the blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “The reason the premiums are where they are is that the people we are covering have serious conditions. . . That’s clear. And there’s not enough young healthy people to balance out those costs.”
The reason for that is young healthy people are being charged unnecessarily high rates for their insurance by the mandates of ObamaCare and therefore they have refused to enroll, despite the government fines imposed for noncompliance. These young people are making a rational decision because ObamaCare does not represent good value for the money.
Even those who may be able to afford the premiums, with or without government subsidies, are having trouble paying for healthcare treatment. With deductibles that average $6,000 for singles and $12,000 for families, most middle class consumers can’t afford much more than a routine doctor’s office visit. Even a simple outpatient surgical procedure like a knee arthroscopy that costs about $12,000 will mean $6,000 in deductible and another $3,000 of the next $6,000 in the usual 50/50 payment plan. That’s $9,000 out of pocket for a routine procedure!
Is President Obama worried about his signature healthcare legislation? Perish the thought! Obama said, “The Affordable Care Act has done what it was designed to do” last week in Miami. Most likely he was referring to the increased number of Americans with insurance. But most of those now have Medicaid, a second-class healthcare system that reduces access to healthcare and provides poorer medical outcomes than even the uninsured.
The bottom line is that ObamaCare may be showing more people as insured on paper but even those with essentially free premiums are failing to get more than the most basic healthcare treatment. This healthcare system is a charade being propped up by HHS until progressives like Obama and Hillary Clinton can convince Congress that socialized medicine is better. Perhaps what Obama really meant by those words was that ObamaCare was designed to push us into the single-payer system he wanted from the outset.
The American people deserve better and Republican plans can deliver that. But that will only happen with a Republican in the White House and control of Congress. It’s not too late for Trump and Republicans running for Congress to hold Democrats accountable for this ObamaCare train wreck.