“Despite Obamacare’s strong national enrollment numbers, several states are at risk for big premium hikes.
Each state is its own insurance market, and they had wildly different experiences during Obamacare’s first open-enrollment window. So although nationwide statistics are important for judging the law’s political success, the substantive tests for the law’s future mostly lie with the states—and some of them aren’t looking so hot.”
“The first suggested Obamacare premium prices for 2015 don’t look so scary, but a few states could soon be in for some nasty sticker shock.
Health insurers that are still processing enrollments from Obamacare signups are at the same time setting their premiums for 2015 individual policies—and setting the stage for more debate about the Affordable Care Act.”
“Massachusetts pioneered universal health care in 2006. Under then-Governor Mitt Romney, it was the first state to guarantee access to insurance — and drove its uninsured rate down to just 4 percent.
Which makes it baffling that Massachusetts did arguably the worst of any state in implementing Obamacare. Like a handful of ardent Obamacare supporters in other states, Massachusetts officials tried to pull off an ambitious launch — and failed badly.”
“A few months into Obamacare’s coverage expansion, there’s been plenty of debate about where the millions of newly insured have obtained coverage — whether through the law’s exchanges, directly from an insurer, through expanded Medicaid or through an employer. The health-care law’s immediate impact is a little more clear in hospitals, which are starting to report who’s coming through their doors during the first months of expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act.”
“An insurer in Washington state selling plans under the Affordable Care Act is proposing to lower customers’ health premiums next year in what appears to be one of the first such decreases proposed for 2015.”
“Kyle Cheney of Politico is a solid, straight news reporter. So I was a little surprised this morning to see his analysis of state Obamacare exchange spending features numbers much smaller than the ones I have been using, most notably a figure of $248 million for Oregon and just $57 million for Massachusetts. Total federal grant funding to Oregon’s failed exchange, according to CMS, is $305 million. Massachusetts, according to CMS, is at $179 million. These are huge disparities.”
“The chief executive of Hawaii’s largest health insurance company is calling on Hawaii to shut down its beleaguered health insurance exchange, which was set up as part of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Michael Gold, president and CEO of Hawaii Medical Services Association, says the state shouldn’t keep spending money on the Hawaii Health Connector, a system that he says is financially unsustainable and does not work.”
“Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher.
Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. All have come under scathing criticism and now face months of uncertainty as they rush to rebuild their systems or transition to the federal exchange.”
“Insurers who are not selling their wares on Washington, D.C.’s exchange have signaled they may sue to block a D.C. council plan to charge them a 1 percent annual tax on all health-related plans sold in the city. The revenue would pay for the continuing operation of online marketplace.”
“California’s insurance marketplace for small businesses has attracted just a fraction of eligible companies, with most being deterred by technology glitches, paperwork delays and customer service problems.”