When President Obama’s landmark health care law ushered in a slew of new insurance options in 2013, the Andersons could not wait to sign up. But in April, when Roger Anderson fell while hiking and hurt his shoulder, he discovered, to his dismay, that simply being insured was not enough. The Andersons’ mid-tier health care plan costs them $875 a month and requires them to meet a $7,000 deductible before insurance payments kick in. Their experience echoes that of hundreds of thousands of newly insured Americans facing sticker shock over out-of-pocket costs.
The Obama administration officials are touting low premiums available during open enrollment on Healthcare.gov, but for many new patients receiving coverage under the ObamaCare exchanges, the sticker shock of sky-high deductibles leaves them just as vulnerable as before they were covered. The New York Times found that in many states, more than half the insurance plans offered on the federal exchanges had deductibles of $3,000 or more.
Health plans that offer coverage of doctors and hospitals outside the plan’s network are getting harder to find on the insurance marketplaces, according to two analyses published this week. Two-thirds of the 131 carriers that offered silver-level preferred provider organization plans in 2015 will either drop them entirely or offer fewer of them in January, an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found. Those cutbacks will affect customers in 37 states, according to the foundation.
As Marketplace enrollees begin to shop for coverage starting in 2016, the number of insurance choices available to them is changing in some parts of the country. In early 2015, an average of 6.1 insurer groups offered coverage in each state, up from an average of 5.0 in 2014. Since then, some insurers have announced their exit or been required to withdraw from the Marketplaces, most notably a number of nonprofit Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) and some larger insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico. Despite these withdrawals, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that the average number of issuers per state is increasing slightly in 2016 and that about 9 out of 10 returning Healthcare.gov customers will have 3 or more insurers from which to choose in 2016.
Yesterday’s post discussed what we know about Obamacare as its third open enrollment season commences. Here are four major questions about the future of Obamacare that remain unanswered.
In Tennessee, the state insurance commissioner approved a 36 percent rate increase for the largest health insurer in the state’s individual marketplace. In Iowa, the commissioner approved rate increases averaging 29 percent for the state’s dominant insurer. Health insurance consumers logging into HealthCare.gov on Sunday for the first day of the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment season may be in for sticker shock, unless they are willing to shop around. Federal officials acknowledged on Friday that many people would need to pick new plans to avoid substantial increases in premiums.
Obamacare’s third open enrollment season kicked off yesterday, beginning the next chapter in its turbulent history. Today’s post discusses what we know about Obamacare. Tomorrow’s will discuss what we don’t yet know.
It isn’t just Obamacare premiums that are set to spike next year. The rates on commercial health plans that are sold off the Obamacare exchanges will also rise, by double digits in most states. Inflation in the health plan sector continues to grow. The latest data comes from a regular survey of commercial insurance brokers, conducted by the investment bank Morgan Stanley. The survey tracks how much the annual increases built into the price of insurance are rising or falling.
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.