The catastrophic failure of Obamacare’s launch is now far in the past. But the public’s acquiescence to a law that keeps creating new problems should not be taken as a sign of enthusiastic acceptance, much less as a sign that Obamacare is working.
The important thing is how each of Obamacare’s current problems — skyrocketing premiums, lower than expected enrollment, and the collapse of several cooperative plans — is related to the others.
Federal officials have a secret list of 11 Obamacare health insurance co-ops they fear are on the verge of failure, but they refuse to disclose them to the public or to Congress, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has learned.
Just in the last three weeks, five of the original 24 Obamacare co-ops announced plans to close, bringing the total of failures to nine barely two years after their launch with $2 billion in start-up capital from the taxpayers under the Affordable Care Act.
Risk corridor data released on October 1 by the administration shows that insurers lost a lot of money on Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in 2014. The ACA established a three-year risk corridor program to transfer funds from insurers with lower-than-expected medical claims on ACA plans, i.e., profitable insurers, to insurers with higher-than-expected claims, i.e., insurers with losses. Despite administration claims that incoming payments from profitable insurers would cover losses from unprofitable ones, the risk corridor program shortfall exceeded $2.5 billion in 2014. Insurers with lower-than-anticipated claims owed about $360 million, and insurers with higher-than-anticipated claims requested about $2.9 billion from the program.
Oregon will become the eighth state to shut down a taxpayer-funded health insurance startup, the latest Obamacare co-op insurer to fold from financial troubles.
Health Republic Insurance, one of the state’s two co-ops, said Friday it will not offer plans in 2016. Also on Friday, Colorado’s co-op said that it would stop offering plans next year.
Colorado’s nonprofit co-op insurer announced Friday that it will not offer plans in 2016, the third co-op to do so in a week. The decision means that Colorado will be the seventh of 23 taxpayer-funded co-ops to shut down. About $2 billion in government funding has been doled out to the co-ops that opened to offer more competition in the Obamacare marketplaces.
A government watchdog overseeing the Department of Health and Human Services delivered the grim financial state of nearly all of the co-ops—that collectively received $2.4 billion—created under Obamacare several months ago.
Now, following the collapse of six of the 23 that launched in 2013, the co-ops, or consumer oriented and operated plans, face an uphill battle to solidify themselves as competitors in the health insurance market.
Kentucky’s health insurance co-operative joined the growing list of failed Obamacare co-operatives, announcing Wednesday it will cease operations by the end of the year.
Federal officials were so out of the loop about the failing state of the Kentucky Health co-operative last November they awarded it $20 million in additional “expansion funds” to allow it to sell health insurance to customers in nearby West Virginia.
Community Health Alliance, Tennessee’s health insurance co-op, will stop offering health insurance coverage in 2016, reports The Tennessean. The move will make nearly 27,000 individuals find insurance elsewhere. In January, the co-op froze enrollment. The organization will continue to pay out existing claims and slow down its operations, The Tennessean reports.
Colorado HealthOP is one of roughly 20 nationally that opened after Obamacare started. They were designed to shake up the traditional health insurance marketplaces, and provide an alternative. And they’ve done that. Co-op plans were often priced below their competitors and they gained a huge surge in customers. But with a lot of claims to pay that puts them on potentially shaky ground, said Scott Harrington.
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.