ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.
Large employers are expecting next year’s health costs increase more than they did this year, with ObamaCare’s new regulations taking much of the blame. “While there was uncertainty about the regulations determining grandfathered plan status, the majority of employers (53%) were still planning to make changes to their plan designs. To comply with the law, employers are having to remove lifetime dollar limits on overall benefits (70%), make changes to annual limits on specific benefits (40%), remove annual dollar limits on overall benefits (26%), and remove pre-existing conditions exclusion clauses for dependent children under age 19 (13%). Employers are still evaluating retiree health offerings as a result of new provisions related to taxation of retiree drug subsidies as well as changes in Medicare Advantage plans.”
According to an analysis by Weiss Ratings, several small insurers will be driven out of business by ObamaCare’s new restrictions. “Martin D. Weiss, president of Weiss Ratings, said in a statement that provisions in PPACA, such as the removal of certain reimbursement limits and mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions, will force health insurers to spend more on medical care. ‘Most large health insurers will be able to handle it. But we are concerned that weaker, less profitable insurers will be forced out of the market, reducing competition and ultimately leading to fewer choices and higher premiums for consumers,’ he said.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce formally objected to the recently published regulations to implement ObamaCare’s provision to “grandfather” existing insurance plans. The regulations are very strict, and would likely grant exemption to only a small number of current plans. Complying with ObamaCare’s regulations will lead to higher insurance costs for companies, or lead those companies to drop coverage altogether.
ObamaCare’s promises to lower costs are not working, according to a new study from the National Business Group on Health. Businesses are increasing or considering increasing cost-sharing , dropping retiree drug coverage to stave off rising health insurance costs in 2011.
“Employers and consumers sorting through their health insurance options may see a bump in their rates next year to account for the potential impact of some of the early elements of the federal health overhaul law, according to some health experts. Jeff Sher, an independent health insurance agent and consultant in San Francisco, said he’s anticipating employee coverage at mid-size companies to go up 13 percent to 15 percent. ‘Then we’re supposed to tack on several percentage points for health reform,’ he said.”
ObamaCare was sold with rosy promises that insurers would be immediately banned from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. But that just means higher costs. “Some families might face higher insurance premiums because of a requirement in the new healthcare law that plans cover sick children, state insurance commissioners said Friday… But the new rules are leading some health plans across the country to stop issuing new child-only coverage, the state officials said. That could force parents to buy costly family coverage where in the past they could have saved money by buying separate policies for themselves and their children.”
ObamaCare will raise costs for existing insurance policies. The state of Arizona recently notified employees that their costs will go up as a result of the new law. “The Department of Administration cited federal health reform as the reason the state’s health plans will carry ‘greater expenses and higher premiums for members,’ according to a June 30 letter sent to about 135,000 state and university employees and their dependents.”
“Does President Obama have any idea what’s in his own health-care reform law? Since he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a bit more than 100 days ago, the president has given a number of speeches and interviews in which he continues to say things that, well, just aren’t so. Just last Friday, he told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that the law ‘not only makes sure everybody has access to coverage but is reducing costs.’ Wrong on both counts.”
Rules forcing insurers to cover certain procedures without any out-of-pocket costs doesn’t make them free as most reports claim, it just makes them pre-paid. “Each use of ‘free’ and ‘no cost’ in these excerpts is false, even within its original context. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a cost. No government can change that. Mandating that insurers cover certain services does not magically make them free. Consumers still pay, just in the form of higher health insurance premiums and lower wages.”
ObamaCare includes new mandates which require all insurance companies to provide “free” preventive care, with no co-pays or deductibles. Of course, patients will still be paying for it, but the costs will instead be built into increased insurance premiums to pay for the new requirements. A government board will be deciding what does or does not qualify as preventive. “The rules stipulate that no co-payments can be charged for tests and screenings recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of scientific experts. The rules apply to new health plans that begin coverage after Sept. 23 and to existing health plans that make significant changes after that date. The administration said the requirements could increase premiums by 1.5 percent, on average.”