ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.
“More than 120,000 Arizona residents signed up for private health insurance during the first year of the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace.
But it’s the second year that analysts will scrutinize, to see whether health insurers increase rates or discontinue selling plans over the federal exchange.”
“Federal data released Monday show an increase in the average price hospitals charge to treat common conditions, with vascular procedures and chest-pain treatment showing some of biggest upticks.
The numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services include 2012 prices at 3,376 hospitals for the 100 most common inpatient stays by Medicare patients. It is the second year the agency has released such data, and it reflects $57 billion in payments from Medicare, the federal insurance program for the elderly and disabled.”
“With 2015 premiums forthcoming, a major question hanging over Obamacare’s exchanges is what effect competition among insurers will have on premiums. Currently, the exchanges tend to be sparsely populated, with only 3.9 insurers competing in each rating area of the federal exchanges, on average. Indeed, whether premium increases moderate will be a major test for the health care law.”
“House Republicans are demanding a halt to all premium subsidies under ObamaCare until the administration can prove it is paying the correct amount in every case.
GOP members of the Ways and Means Committee pointed Wednesday to a report that hundreds of thousands of people might be receiving incorrect subsidies on the exchanges.”
“Early evidence suggests that emergency rooms have become busier since the Affordable Care Act expanded insurance coverage this year, despite the law’s goal of reducing unnecessary care in ERs.”
“The Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money.”
“A large number of people who’ve signed up for private health insurers through the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange have not paid their first month’s premiums, meaning they are at risk of going without coverage through November.”
“Of course, no services are ever actually free since consumers pay indirectly for them through their premiums.”
“Many insurers only dipped a toe into the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces for their first year.
Cigna, one of the country’s largest insurers, offered 2014 plans to individuals in fewer than half a dozen states. Humana is only in a little more than a dozen states. The biggest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, didn’t offer any policies through the federally run online portal and only a few elsewhere.”
“The government may be paying incorrect subsidies to more than 1 million Americans for their health plans in the new federal insurance marketplace and has been unable so far to fix the errors, according to internal documents and three people familiar with the situation.”