Obamacare: ‘Get Ready To Pay More’

‘A Quintessential Obamacare Failure Story’ Of Higher Premiums, Fewer Choices For Consumers

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “I am proud of the policy changes in the ACA and the progress that has been made toward a more affordable, high-quality, and accessible health care system.” (Barack Obama, “United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps,” The Journal of the American Medical Association, 7/11/2016)

REALITY: “‘We’re paying more for less,’ said Jamie Court, the president of Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica.  ‘Insurers are limiting access to doctors and hospitals while also demanding a higher price.’” (“California Obamacare Rates To Rise 13% In 2017, More Than Three Times The Increase Of Last Two Years,” Los Angeles Times, 7/19/2016)

‘Another Round Of Double-Digit Rate Increases’

KENTUCKY: “Get ready to pay more for health insurance. The Kentucky Department of Insurance has approved health insurance rate hikes of up to 47 percent for individuals and up to nearly 13 percent for small groups.” (“Get Ready To Pay More For Health Insurance In Kentucky,” Insider Louisville, 8/03/2016)

ALABAMA: “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is seeking an average rate increase of 39 percent on individual plans offered through the Obamacare marketplace, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The proposed rate hikes will affect more than 160,000 people in Alabama who purchase insurance through the federal exchange . . . Rate increases range from 26 to 41 percent, depending on the type of plan.” (“Blue Cross Proposes Rate Hike Of Nearly 40 Percent On Some Obamacare Plans,” AL.com, 8/08/2016)

NEW YORK: “New York regulators have approved health insurance rates for 2017, hiking premiums about 8 percent for small group plans and almost 17 percent for individual plans. The Department of Financial Services said rising health care costs and the federal reinsurance program's termination are pushing up rates.” (“NY Approves Health Insurance Rate Hikes For 2017,” The Associated Press, 8/05/2016)

ILLINOIS: “Health insurance premiums for Illinois residents who buy coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace could increase by as much as 45 percent according to proposals submitted by insurers and made public Monday. The leading insurer on Illinois’ exchange, Blue Cross Blue Shield, is proposing increases for 2017 ranging from 23 percent to 45 percent for individual health care plans, according to proposals posted by Healthcare.gov.” (“Illinois Insurers Seek Premium Increases Of Up To 45%,” Chicago Sun-Times, 8/01/2016)

  • “Illinois’ marketplace has been roiled by recent defections. UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, is leaving after just two years of minimal participation. And Chicago-based Land of Lincoln Health, a 3-year-old startup that sold plans throughout the state, collapsed after suffering heavy losses. Its 49,000 enrollees are looking for new coverage for the rest of the year.” (“Illinois Insurers Seek Premium Increases Of Up To 45%,” Chicago Sun-Times, 8/01/2016)

CALIFORNIA: “Premiums for Californians’ Obamacare health coverage will rise by an average of 13.2% next year — more than three times the increase of the last two years . . . The big hikes come after two years in which California officials had boasted that the program helped insure hundreds of thousands people in the state while keeping costs moderately in check.” (“California Obamacare Rates To Rise 13% In 2017, More Than Three Times The Increase Of Last Two Years,” Los Angeles Times, 7/19/2016)

MONTANA: “The three health insurers selling individual policies in Montana through the online marketplace created by President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act are proposing large premium increases for the second straight year, state officials said Friday.” (“Health Insurers Propose Big Premium Increases For 2017,” The Associated Press, 7/08/2016)

MICHIGAN: “Health insurers in Michigan are seeking another round of double-digit rate increases next year for plans they sell to individuals . . .” (“Michigan Insurers Seek Big Hikes For Obamacare Plans,” Detroit Free Press, 7/09/2016)

PREVIOUSLY: Consumers Face ‘Historically Large Health Insurance Premium Increases’ In As Many As 25 Other States

‘Competition On The Obamacare Marketplaces Will Decline Next Year,’ Leaving Customers With ‘No Choice’

“Competition on the Obamacare marketplaces will decline next year. There will be significantly more places in the country where customers have no choice of health insurance because just one company signed up to sell coverage. This is the conclusion that health policy experts have increasingly gravitated toward in recent months and weeks, as major insurance companies have announced hundreds of millions of dollars in financial losses on the Obamacare marketplaces.” (“Obamacare’s Markets Will Be Less Competitive Next Year. Here’s Why.,” Vox, 8/04/2016)

  • “‘Under any likely scenario, there will be less insurer participation in the exchanges in 2017 than there was in 2016,’ says Michael Adelberg, a senior director at FaegreBD Consulting who previously worked in the Obama administration helping to manage the marketplaces’ launch. ‘It seems pretty clear at this point there will be less competition in the marketplaces next year, particularly in rural areas,’ says Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation.” (“Obamacare’s Markets Will Be Less Competitive Next Year. Here’s Why.,” Vox, 8/04/2016)


‘It's Becoming Increasingly Clear That The Assumptions The Law Was Built On Just Haven't Held Up’

“[I]n states like North Carolina, it's becoming increasingly clear that the assumptions the [health care] law was built on just haven't held up.” (“Obamacare’s Sinking Safety Net,” Politico, 7/13/2016)

  • “[I]f you’re looking for a quintessential Obamacare failure story, you might also stick that pin directly in North Carolina. For the insurance companies doing business in the state . . . Obamacare has turned into a financial sinkhole. UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurance company, is pulling out of the Obamacare business in North Carolina next year. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, which dominated the individual market with more than a half-million customers, reported that losses on its Obamacare business in 2014 and 2015 topped $400 million. The only other current competitor, Aetna, wants to hike rates by nearly 25 percent next year.” (“Obamacare’s Sinking Safety Net,” Politico, 7/13/2016)

“What's happening in North Carolina is repeating itself in state after state across the country and represents the most acute structural threat to the marquee achievement of President Barack Obama's presidency.” (“Obamacare’s Sinking Safety Net,” Politico, 7/13/2016)



Related Issues: Health Care, Obamacare