Obamacare’s third year of open enrollment began on Sunday. People hoping to sign up saw a website with fresh photos and high-tech features. They found the actual insurance of the president’s signature law has gotten even worse. Unless something dramatic happens, this may be the year of the health care law’s collapse. Prices keep rising and service keeps fading. It should not surprise the administration that people are not signing up.
New analysis from Avalere Health examines the 2016 Federal Exchange Premium File. According to HHS, more than 8 in 10 (86 percent) of current enrollees can find a lower premium plan in the same metal level by returning to the exchange and shopping for 2016. As a result, tables and figures below examine the lowest cost options in two metal levels.
The next Open Enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins on November 1, 2015 for coverage starting on January 1, 2016. According to an HHS analysis, about 8 out of 10 returning consumers will be able to buy a plan with premiums less than $100 dollars a month after tax credits; and about 7 out of 10 will have a plan available for less than $75 a month. Highlights of the 2016 Marketplace Affordability Snapshot include:
About 70% of those who return to the federal insurance exchange when open enrollment starts Nov. 1 will pay less than $75 a month after they receive tax credits, a government analysis released Monday shows. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also reported that for this third open enrollment about 80% of consumers shopping again on Healthcare.gov will be able to pay less than $100 a month after tax credits.
For years, this blog has been warning about how the high cost of Obamacare-sponsored insurance would limit the law’s expansion of health coverage. Well, the chicken has come home to roost. Today, the Obama administration announced that it projected dramatically lower enrollment growth for Obamacare’s exchanges in 2016: only 1.3 million, compared to a prediction of 8 million when the law was passed five years ago.
Fewer than 1 million new customers nationwide will have health insurance from the Obamacare exchanges next year, according to a federal report published Thursday.
The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 10 million people will be covered by private health insurance policies obtained via the Affordable Care Act’s exchange marketplaces in 2016, an increase of just 900,000 from the 9.1 million people the department estimates will have such plans by the end of this year.
Kentucky sometimes failed to ensure that all consumers who signed up for insurance on the state’s health exchange were eligible for coverage, the latest federal audit found.
The audit, released Thursday by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, found that some of the Kentucky exchange’s controls for confirming consumers’ eligibility weren’t effective. Earlier audits also identified deficiencies in the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, as well as state-run exchanges in California, Connecticut and New York.
The goal of all insurance plans is to provide the right services to the right patient population. Insurance eligibility is a big factor, and companies spend a lot of time and effort determining if their patients qualify for coverage. The question of eligibility is also critical to the operation of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces, and a recent OIG report found problems within the New York state marketplace that potentially led to ineligible enrollees.
Lackluster enrollment numbers, technology issues, and high maintenance costs are among the challenges plaguing ObamaCare state exchanges that were reviewed by the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee at a hearing Tuesday.
“CMS has seemed more focused on doling out taxpayer dollars rather than overseeing how those dollars are spent,” Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) said of the lack of oversight.
Executives from six state exchanges—Oregon, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California, Minnesota, and Connecticut—provided testimony. So far, Oregon and Hawaii’s exchanges have both proven to be unsustainable, closing down and migrating consumers to HealthCare.gov’s federal marketplace with others likely to follow.
Chairman Murphy emphasized in his opening statement the sufficient amount of taxpayer money that was poured into creating these now-failing exchanges: “The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has awarded $5.51 billion dollars to the States to help them establish their exchanges. Let me repeat that. The States received $5.51 billion in federal taxpayer dollars to set up their own exchanges. Yet, the ACA had no specific definition of what a state exchange was supposed to do, or more importantly, what it was not supposed to do.”
Grant money used to fund the exchanges was cut off in 2015 when states were expected to start bringing in enough money to continue operation on their own. Of the 17 states that chose to establish their own exchanges, nearly half face financial difficulties.
The committee hopes to find out why exchanges have struggled to become self-sustaining and whether or not any grant money will be recouped from states where exchanges have been shut down. For instance, Oregon spent $305 million of taxpayer dollars to establish its failed exchange, while Hawaii spent $205 million.
As Americans for Tax Reform points out, Tuesday’s hearing is a vital first step to addressing the urgent problems within the state exchanges—before they spread to all 17.
One of the key questions surrounding Obamacare is just how many people have been newly insured under the law. The answer is clouded by the fact that the White House and others have changed some rules of math for making these assessments.
For example, several years ago, the Obama Administration fiddled with Census Bureau’s definition of what it means to be “uninsured.” The new parameters, which were looser than the old factors, make it hard to construct comparisons between today’s figures for the total number of uninsured and the historical trends.
The Obama team also abruptly started to exclude uninsured illegal immigrants from the national tally on total number of uninsured Americans. Before Obamacare, these individuals were counted in that reporting, inflating the numbers. After Obamacare, these individuals didn’t get insurance, but suddenly didn’t get counted any more.
Now, a new analysis from the highly regarded managed care analyst at Goldman Sachs, Matthew Borsch, and his team, cast uncertainty on some of the recent data releases from the White House, and its network of academicians. In particular, the Goldman breakdown conflicts in some key ways with a recent analysis from RAND that was published in the journal Health Affairs and widely cited by the media.