According to a Sept. 3 report by Anna Wilde Mathews of the Wall Street Journal, Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health announced it will cut back its range of plans offered through the ObamaCare marketplaces.
Obama-era boondoggles operate on a far grander scale. Consider the massive 2009 “Stimulus” package and all those “shovel-ready” jobs that never materialized. Or the $536-million loan guarantee for Solyndra, shortly before the solar power company went belly up.
The price of the most popular health plans sold through Maryland’s insurance exchange will jump, on average, by about one quarter next year, fueling questions about whether coverage under the Affordable Care Act will remain affordable in the state and elsewhere.
The 26 percent average increase in monthly premiums are for CareFirst plans, which cover three-fourths of the state residents who have bought insurance under the federal health-care law. The price jump, scheduled for January, is among rate changes that the state’s insurance regulators have approved for plans sold to individual families and small businesses.
The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) is replete with bad policies. The so-called Cadillac tax is not one of them.
The tax, which would impose a 40% charge on the value of any employer-provided health insurance above $27,500 for a family, is set to be imposed in 2018. Politicians on both the left and the right have set their sights on repealing the provision. Several Republicans recently announced they would be introducing a bill to repeal it shortly after Congress is back in session, and they hope to bring it to a vote by year’s end.
Insurers have asked for double-digit rate increases for nearly 1 out of every 3 Obamacare plans that will be sold on HealthCare.gov for 2016 coverage, according to a new analysis.
And in three states—Delaware, South Dakota and West Virginia—every plan sold on HealthCare.gov is asking for 10 percent or more hikes in the prices of their premiums for next year, AgileHealthInsurance.com said in its report.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite its laudable policy goals, contains a provision that could negatively impact the health of millions of middle class individuals, and that is the so-called “Cadillac” tax. Increasingly it is being re-evaluated by policy experts, and there is growing sentiment that it should be rewritten or even repealed.
This excise tax was intended to encourage employers to eliminate overly rich healthcare benefits that could lead to excessive, inappropriate utilization of heathcare services and unnecessary healthcare spending. In addition, the revenue from the tax was to serve as a funding source for a portion of the ACA’s insurance subsidies.
Highmark Health said it would reduce its range of offerings on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, becoming the latest insurer to retrench amid steep financial losses.
The big Pittsburgh-based nonprofit company said it would continue to sell plans related to the federal health overhaul in all of the areas it currently serves, which span Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. But “we will have less products in the market overall,” said David L. Holmberg, the company’s chief executive, who said Highmark had lost $318 million on its individual health-law plans in the first six months of 2015, after rolling out a very broad array of options that had attracted many consumers with chronic conditions who required costly care.
Most of the 275 million Americans with health benefits probably see the logo on the corner of their insurance card and think that’s who has them covered. But for almost 100 million of them—the majority of Americans who get coverage through work—the true insurer is noted somewhere else: on their business card. It’s called self-insurance, and the Obama administration seems interested in curtailing the practice to shore up the Affordable Care Act’s health-insurance exchanges.
With the end of the Obama administration on the horizon, Republican presidential candidates—and members of Congress—are proposing ways to replace or repair the Affordable Care Act. Undoing the damage of ObamaCare may finally become a realistic possibility.
One of the strangest things about Obamacare is that it is trying to force millions of families to obtain the wrong kind of insurance. When they turn it down, these families often end up with no insurance at all.
As an alternative we propose to allow people to obtain a more limited type of insurance – one that better meets individual and family needs. This insurance would be less costly than ObamaCare insurance; it would pay the vast majority of medical bills the family is likely to incur; and it would at the same time protect the family’s income and assets.