ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

“A Cigna Corp. executive said Thursday that taxes on the health insurance industry related to the Affordable Care Act, or federal health care reform, will be pushed onto customers in the form of higher premiums. Cigna’s Chief Financial Officer Ralph J. Nicoletti responded to a question about the taxes during a conference call with financial analysts Thursday morning when the Bloomfield-based health insurer reported third-quarter earnings.”

“With the Presidential election one week away, it’s worth reviewing how Obamacare will impact the residents of key swing states. In Ohio, as elsewhere, Obamacare will drive up the cost of private health coverage, especially for those who buy insurance on their own. A non-partisan study found that, by 2017, individual premiums in Ohio will increase by as much as 85 percent. “

“California officials have floated the idea of legislating lower prices. One way would be to throw West Los Angeles and Orange County into the same risk pools. That might reduce premiums in West L.A., but only by increasing premiums in Orange County. With a few simplifying assumptions, premiums in both West L.A. and the O.C. could rise by 19 percent. An alternative would be to cap premium increases. One state official proposes a cap of 8 percent. But that would just be an implicit form of government rationing. If insurers cannot charge premiums that cover their costs, they will cover fewer services.”

“U.S. health care suffers from three major problems: millions of people go without insurance, health care costs are rising at unaffordable rates, and the quality of care is not what it should be. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) primarily addresses the first — and easiest — of these problems by expanding coverage to a substantial number of the uninsured. Solutions to the other two remain aspirations and promises.”

“The Medicare Shared Savings Program, created under the Affordable Care Act, will reward participating accountable care organizations that succeed in lowering health care costs while improving performance… We used a simulation model to analyze the effects of the Shared Savings Program quality measures and performance targets on Medicare costs in a simulated population of patients ages 65–75 with type 2 diabetes. We found that a ten-percentage-point improvement in performance on diabetes quality measures would reduce Medicare costs only by up to about 1 percent. After the costs of performance improvement, such as additional tests or visits, are accounted for, the savings would decrease or become cost increases.”

“A provision in the national health-care law that lets young adults stay on their parents’ insurance plan is popular with many families—but not ones in the military. Families covered by Tricare, the health program for active and retired members of the military, must pay as much as $200 a month to let an adult child stay on their plan until age 26. Most families in private plans now pay no fee to extend such coverage. Military families are starting to complain about the disparity, saying they can’t afford those premiums and have let their children go uninsured.”

“It’s disappointing news for the architects and participants of accountable care, hoping that the alternative payment model would curb healthcare spending. A new Health Affairs study found that Medicare accountable care organizations (ACO) that improved diabetes outcomes by as much as 10 percent had little to no effect on cost savings, MedPage Today reported.”

“Medical prices accelerated faster than some projections last year and the number of uninsured is rising, according to data that show the U.S. goal of expanding health care is veering onto a more difficult road.”

“Two new independent studies of health insurance premiums and health care spending indicate both are rising at an accelerated pace, despite President Obama’s 2008 promise to contain those costs and his pledge that his health care legislation would reduce premiums.”

“Nearly 13 million Americans have gotten, or will soon be getting, rebates from their health insurance companies. This is because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that’s supposed to force insurance companies to run better. But while the idea of getting a check from your health insurance company may sound great, some economists worry this rule could actually make health insurance more expensive.”