As premiums for Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance plans skyrocketacross the country, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appears to be spinning the bad news by noting that 2017 premiums are about what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expected they would be when the law passed in early 2010. However, CBO’s November 2009 estimate of future premiums involved significant and generally unforeseeable errors in key underlying assumptions having nothing to do with the ACA. A valid understanding of the ACA’s effect on insurance premiums would need to account for these errors.
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If you are wondering why the Obamacare exchanges are in so much trouble, a whole slew of “experts” think they have the answer. From President Obama to health insurance industry CEOs to the editors of The New York Times to health policy gurus everywhere – the verdict is almost unanimous. Not enough young and healthy people are buying health insurance.
So, what’s the solution to that problem? Carrots and sticks, according to the conventional wisdom. We need to make health insurance more attractive to the young.
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Anthem Inc. said it may join other major U.S. health insurers in largely pulling out of Obamacare’s markets in 2018 if its financial results under the program don’t improve next year.
Anthem retreating from the Affordable Care Act would mean that almost all of the major American for-profit health insurers have substantially pulled back from the law. The other big insurers — UnitedHealth Group Inc., Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. — have already scaled back, after posting massive losses. The retreats threaten to further destabilize coverage in the markets for individual coverage, known as exchanges, that provide insurance to millions of Americans.
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As open enrollment starts Tuesday on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, consumers in some parts of the country are bracing for huge rate hikes, while many others are preparing to change insurers and likely doctors.
The crazy quilt of 2017 changes is creating angst among both supporters of the law and consumers under 65 who don’t get their insurance through work. And it comes as enrollment needs a big boost, especially of younger, healthier people to help offset insurers’ costs of covering the sicker people who have signed up so far.
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The 25 percent increase in Obamacare premiums for 2017 announced on October 24 is eye-popping. That is five times the increase that workers are likely to see in the cost of health benefits offered by employers. Politically, this is a disaster.
However, the jump in premiums is overdue. Insurers in the exchange market have found that the cost of providing coverage is much higher than they initially projected. We expect insurers to offer coverage to everyone, regardless of their health condition. That’s good social policy, but it is expensive.
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One of the most popular pieces of ObamaCare could be hurting the administration’s push to attract more young people into the wobbly marketplace, according to several people who helped shape the law.
The administration is staging campus enrollment drives and pouring money into Facebook and Instagram ads this year in an attempt to boost ObamaCare enrollment among young adults. The sign-up period begins Tuesday.
Yet there’s a fundamental flaw in the effort — and it has to do with ObamaCare’s design.
Because of the healthcare law, the White House says nearly 3 million young people under the age of 26 have been able to stay on their parents’ insurance plans and don’t have to shop for coverage on HealthCare.gov.
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Having health insurance is vital for 21-year-old Mercedes Nimmer, who takes several expensive prescription drugs to manage multiple sclerosis. So Nimmer was thrilled to get health insurance last year through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace and qualify for a federal subsidy to substantially lower her cost.
Yet, the government assistance still left her with a $33 monthly premium, a hefty amount for Nimmer, who makes $11,000 a year as a part-time supply clerk.
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The final Obamacare open enrollment of President Obama’s presidency starts Tuesday with enrollees facing fewer insurers and higher premiums for health coverage.
However, the impact will largely depend on where the enrollee lives, as some states are faring far worse than others in plan offerings and rates.
The administration wants to get 13.8 million people to sign up between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, and it hopes about 11 million will pay for coverage throughout 2017. However, some experts doubt whether the administration can reach that goal because of higher plan costs.
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Obamacare customers are acting more cost-conscious than other people with insurance — and it could be affecting their health.
A new survey finds that 50 percent of people who buy health plans through government-run Obamacare marketplaces say they cut back on getting health care services as they try to manage costs.
That can include not going to the doctor as often when they’re sick, skipping preventative care visits and lab tests, and delaying elective surgeries.
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Americans in the health insurance markets created by President Barack Obama’s law will have less choice next year than any time since the program started, a new county-level analysis for The Associated Press has found.
The analysis by AP and consulting firm Avalere Health found that about one-third of U.S. counties will have only one health marketplace insurer next year. That’s more than 1,000 counties in 26 states – roughly double the number of counties in 2014, the first year of coverage through the program.
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