Articles on the implementation of ObamaCare.
Private health insurers made a Faustian bargain with Democrats in 2010: In return for supporting passage of the Affordable Care Act, the companies would be able to grow their business with subsidized customers who were required to buy insurance. How’s that working out?
Except for Dr. Faustus, not great. Democrats lost control of the House and Senate thanks in considerable part to their votes passing ObamaCare on partisan lines. And now we’re learning that private health insurers are losing money on their Affordable Care Act business, as Aetna was the latest to acknowledge on Monday during its quarterly earnings report.
The head of the third-biggest U.S. health insurer said he has “serious concerns” about whether or not ObamaCare’s new markets are sustainable, echoing criticism from other top for-profit insurers.
“We continue to have serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges,” Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said on a call Monday while discussing the company’s fourth-quarter results. “We remain concerned about the overall stability of the risk pool.”
Large U.S. health insurers have faced a rocky start in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which in 2014 opened up new markets where millions of Americans buy coverage, often with tax subsidies to help them afford it. Aetna is one of the biggest insurers in ObamaCare and, like its rivals UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Anthem Inc., has struggled to make a profit in the business.
Criticism of the Obama administration’s implementation of ObamaCare from the administration’s critics is not particularly surprising. There’s not much newsworthy about an administration taking fire from across the aisle. It is more notable when a prominent defender of the Obama administration acknowledges that the administration has colored outside the lines, and not always with good justification. So those interested in the Affordable Care Act and the administrative law should give Nicholas Bagley’s new paper on“Legal Limits and the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act” a careful read.
The third open-enrollment season for health plans under the Affordable Care Act moved into its final hours Sunday night with little fanfare from Obama administration officials who had been urging consumers to buy insurance.
It was unclear whether the close of the three-month enrollment window drew any stampede of last-minute shoppers on HealthCare.gov, as was the case during the first two sign-up years. In each of those, federal health officials trumpeted a late surge of people choosing health plans as evidence of Americans’ eagerness for coverage.
But on Sunday, the officials provided no figures about the final weekend’s volume of traffic on the federal insurance website.
As the third open enrollment season for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act comes to a close on Sunday, a new poll reveals that many uninsured Americans still aren’t paying attention.
The poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released Thursday, found that the majority of the uninsured say they don’t know the deadline for getting coverage this year. Virtually no one knew that the fine for going without health insurance in 2016 has jumped to $695 per adult or 2.5% of household income — whichever is higher.
Most uninsured Americans are sitting on the sidelines as sign-up season under the federal health law comes to a close, according to a new poll that signals the nation’s historic gains in coverage are slowing. The survey released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that:
– Only 15% of the uninsured know this year’s open enrollment deadline, which is Sunday.
– More than 7 in 10 say they have not tried to figure out if they qualify for the two main coverage expansions in the law, Medicaid and subsidized private health insurance.
– Only 1 in 100 know the minimum penalty for being uninsured is going up to $695 in 2016.
Oklahoma declined to set up an insurance exchange or to expand its Medicaid program, which has some of the nation’s most restrictive eligibility criteria. State officials say the number of private insurers participating on the federal insurance exchange here has fallen, and the premiums of the insurance plans on offer have increased.
The public’s attitude can also be an obstacle: Supporters of the Affordable Care Act often encounter stony skepticism here.
“‘Obamacare’ is a cuss word in this state,” said former Gov. David Walters, a Democrat.
One reason why the anger over ObamaCare has subsided somewhat could be that more than 70 significant changes have been made to the law since it was enacted in 2010—delaying, weakening, and eliminating some of its more onerous and burdensome provisions. The law that is being implemented is not the one Congress passed.
By our updated count at the Galen Institute, at least 43 of the changes to the Affordable Care Act have been made unilaterally by the Obama administration, 24 have passed Congress and been signed into law by President Obama, and three were made by the Supreme Court, which had to rewrite the law to uphold it.
Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its annual ten-year Budget and Economic Outlook. The document contains the CBO’s updated estimates for economic growth, employment, and the nation’s fiscal health. The most notable change was to enrollment in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges. The CBO, bowing to reality, slashed their 2016 estimates of exchange enrollment from 21 million to 13 million. Furthermore, the CBO implied that it expects exchange enrollment to peak at 16 million: a far cry from the 24 million it predicted last March.
This is the second year that the Affordable Care Act and taxes will collide, and two changes this year could make the cumbersome tax filing process a bit more complicated.
Janna Herron of The Fiscal Times fills you in on what you should know this time around—the forms, the penalties, and the deadlines.