ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.
House v. Burwell is far from resolution, but this case’s path through the federal courts and the threat it could pose to the Affordable Care Act show continued vulnerabilities of the health-care law as well as the stakes of the 2016 election.
A Commonwealth Fund report published Thursday looks at a provision in the health-care law that is at issue in the case. To soften the impact of out-of-pocket costs under Obamacare, the law requires insurers to reduce certain payments for individuals whose incomes are up to 250% of the federal poverty level if they purchase a “silver” plan through one of the insurance marketplaces. The law also says that insurers are to be repaid for the discounts.
A new analysis of deductibles across the country, relying on data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the federal agency overseeing the ACA, calculated weighted average deductibles by enrollment across gold, silver, and bronze plans.
All three categories increased by an average of $254, or 17 percent, in Pennsylvania this year. Silver plans – with 259,000 enrollees, the most popular in the state – now have deductibles averaging $2,632, while bronze plan deductibles average $6,118. New Jersey was hardly any better. All three plan categories increased by an average of $209, or 10 percent.
In other words, the 298,000 Pennsylvanians with bronze and silver plans will have to pay between $2,632 and $6,118 before their health-insurance coverage kicks in, while 163,000 New Jerseyans will have to pay hundreds of dollars more than last year.
Theresa O’Donnell, a Democratic-leaning voter complained that Obamacare caused her family’s health insurance premiums to double from $5,880 per year to $12,972 per year. “I would like to vote Democratic, but it’s costing me a lot of money,” O’Donnell pleaded. “I am just wondering if Democrats really realize how difficult it’s been on working-class Americans to finance Obamacare.” The audience applauded O’Donnell, showing once again that, really, not even Democrats like Obamacare.
The two principal expenditures of the Affordable Care Act so far include $850 billion for insurance subsidies and a similar outlay for a massive Medicaid expansion. The truth is that Medicaid—a program costing $500 billion a year that rises to $890 billion in 2024—funnels low-income families into substandard coverage. Instead of providing a pathway to excellent health care for poor Americans, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion doubles down on their second-class health-care status.
Published studies have shown that pairing HSAs with high-deductible coverage reduceshealth-care costs. Patient spending averages 15% lower in high-deductible plans, with even more savings when paired with HSAs—without any consequent increases in emergency visits or hospitalizations and without a harmful impact on low-income families. Secondarily, wellness programs that HSA holders more commonly use improve chronic illnesses, reduce health claims and save money.
Christopher E. Press nails our experience (“$lammed by ObamaCare,” op-ed, March 8). My wife and I are self-employed and were content with our modest, cost-effective health insurance. By “self-insuring,” we knew we risked a little higher deductible if something were to happen.
When the president talked up his health-care plan, we weren’t really concerned since he promised, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep [it],” and “keep your doctor,” too. Then he slammed our carefully chosen policy as having “inadequate” coverage. When ObamaCare was rammed through Congress, not only did we scramble to keep the doctors who had cared for us for years, but we paid double for the bronze plan that was most similar to our previous (now canceled) coverage. And, of course, our deductibles went up.
What does the president consider “adequate” coverage for two people past age 55 with no kids? Maternity benefits and teen dental coverage? How helpful. What is the point of ObamaCare? Better health care? Hardly. It’s called “redistribution.”
The average monthly ObamaCare premium grew by about 5 percent over last year once financial assistance is factored in, according to government data released Friday.
The average monthly premium on the ObamaCare marketplace is $106 this year, compared to $101 last year, according to a new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report.
Those figures factor in the financial assistance under the healthcare law that substantially lowers the premiums consumers have to pay. Eighty-five percent of enrollees qualified for financial assistance.
Ask the price of anything and the answer is always the same: What insurance do you have? Patients are blocked from shopping for fair value. The part of the Affordable Care Act which was supposed to control insurance costs, perversely, incentivizes insurers to pay higher, not lower costs. Under the Affordable Care Act, premiums and profits are legally permitted to rise only as health costs rise. In short, when it comes to pricing, nobody is watching the store and citizens cannot shop to protect themselves from medical price gouging.
This former hospital president says that because billing rates are not set, the health industry is able to prey on patients at their most vulnerable. And if you are out of network or uninsured, you pay the highest rates.
This year my family joined millions of others whose health-insurance premium has become their biggest annual expense. More than our mortgage. More than our property taxes. More than our state income tax. More than our annual food or energy costs. With this year’s $194-a-month premium increase, I could roughly buy a Chevy Sonic or Ford Fiesta. Since 1999 our premiums are up 350%. Bad as this is, the story gets worse.
Each year our family is subject to paying health-insurance premiums and, if we see a doctor, deductibles and copays. Think of this total exposure as “health-care cost risk”—the sum of certain payments (premiums) plus the potential payments you could incur (copays and deductibles).
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Forty-three percent of Americans expect to pay more for health care this year than they did last year, according to a survey released Tuesday from GOBankingRates.com, a personal finance and consumer banking website.
About one-fourth of respondents (23 percent) said they expect to pay “a little more than the last year,” and 20 percent said they expect to pay “a lot more than the last year.”
High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are increasing in prevalence in both the group and individual markets. In the group market, rising insurance costs make HDHPs more attractive to employers. Employers now spend an average of $5,179 and $12,591 on health insurance premiums for their employees in individual and family plans, respectively. A recent Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation of employers shows that deductibles have increased 67 percent since 2010. Nearly one-quarter of workers are enrolled in an HDHP, up from 4 percent in 2006. Nearly half of workers are covered by an insurance plan with a general annual deductible of at least $1,000 for individual coverage.
In the individual market, almost 90 percent of enrollees in Affordable Care Act Marketplaces are in a plan with a deductible above the amount that qualifies a plan as an HDHP: $1,300 for an individual and $2,600 for a family (not including cost-sharing reductions) in 2015. The increasing number of enrollees in and prevalence of HDHPs raises a number of policy questions.