Just when you thought The Affordable Care Act couldn’t get any worse, news out of the White House is that the already rising premiums of the disastrous Act known as Obamacare are about to go up double digits as early as next year.
Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.
Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will only have plans from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles.
“Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period,” said Larry Levitt, who tracks the health care law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
Customers who rely on the program will get their first clear look at rising rates Monday as they log onto the federal HealthCare.gov website to “window shop” before 2017 enrollment begins Nov. 1.
The increase has been attributed to a “sicker-than-expected” customer base in the start of the program.
About 15 percent of customers will not qualify for government subsidies, however, and will feel the full brunt of the increases.
The number of insurers participating on HealthCare.gov has dwindled from 232 this year to 167 in 2017, raising fears that insurers who do remain will feel less pressure to keep their rates down going forward, and force Uncle Sam to pay out more in tax credits.
Like Nancy Pelosi stated when she uttered the now infamous words, “We have to pass Obamacare to know what is in it,” we are seeing the absurdities of the legislation. It was meant to fail from the get go with single payer insurance being the real goal of the draconian one government elite.
Among HealthCare.gov states, the highest premium hikes is a stunning 116 percent increase in Arizona, where a 27-year-old who did not qualify for financial aid would go from paying an average of $196 per month for his “benchmark” plan this year up to $422 per month for the same type of plan next year. The lowest increase is a 2 percent hike in New Hampshire, where the benchmark plan for a 27-year-old would go from $215 per month to $217.
Indiana will actually see a 3 percent price drop of its average benchmark plans, with prices falling from $235 per month to $229 for that 27-year-old.
But most other HealthCare.gov states are seeing double-digit price hikes in premiums for their benchmark Obamacare plans, which, like all other individual plans, go on sale Nov. 1 for 2017 coverage.
Most consumers, however, are shielded from these price hikes, especially if they return to the exchanges to shop after enrollment opens Nov. 1. Some 85% of Obamacare enrollees receive federal subsidies, which can lower their premium to less than 10% of their income. The subsidies are pegged to the second-lowest cost silver plan in their area, known as the benchmark plan.
Federal officials stressed the importance of reviewing the 2017 options since the subsidy levels and premiums vary year-to-year. Customers who don’t actively make a selection will be automatically re-enrolled in their current plan and could see an unexpected price increase.
“From quotes like “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” to the cataclysmic bomb that the website turned out to be in the early going, Obamacare has been one lie after another with more signs of failure and incompetence. This was supposed to be President Obama’s crowning achievement in his presidency. It is turning out like his fight with ISIS is…incompetent and confusing. Derelict in duty and sub par in standards.
The premium increases also mean that Obamacare is growing more expensive for the federal government since it has to provide larger subsidies. The price hikes aren’t Obamacare’s only problem for next year. Insurers are also fleeing the exchanges.
Five states — Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming — will only have one insurer providing plans on the federal exchange in 2017. This year, only Wyoming had a sole carrier.
Another issue for consumers is finding or keeping a doctor and hospital they like. To keep costs down, insurers have narrowed their networks of providers, and this could anger enrollees, said Sabrina Corlette, research professor at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. If consumers don’t think it’s a good deal, they could opt to drop their plans or to remain uninsured.
“There are absolutely some carriers that are going to have to come in with some pretty significant price hikes to make up for the under-pricing that they did before,” said Sabrina Corlette.
“Companies are either going to have to raise their prices significantly or drop out,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), pointing to a poll from NPR that found a quarter of the public says the health law has personally hurt them.
“When 25 percent of the American people say that something that the government has done has hurt them, personally hurt them, it’s going to absolutely be an issue in the campaign,” Barrasso, the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, said.
I am convinced the Affordable Care Act is and will continue to plague the very system it was said to help. Of course, that was never the intention of the Act but instead steer us to a single payer, government ran healthcare system.
A few years ago at the mid-term elections the Republicans took back control of Congress under the campaigning slogans of repealing Obamacare, however, when they regained the majority they went back to sitting on their hands and the fight against Obamacare fell through the cracks which was the goal all along. One snake with two head fighting over a fake narrative.
This election we have the same fight as Donald Trump has referred to Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) as “disastrous” and “needs to be repealed and start over.” Whatever this election outcome is the cries to dismantle Obamacare will continue and with the increasing premiums the tone will only get louder.
Written by: Michael Howell
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