Wednesday, November 6, 2013

49-State Analysis: Obamacare To Increase Individual-Market Premiums By Average Of 41%

One of the fundamental flaws of the Affordable Care Act is that, despite its name, it makes health insurance more expensive. Today, the Manhattan Institute released the most comprehensive analysis yet conducted of premiums under Obamacare for people who shop for coverage on their own. Here’s what we learned. In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent. As we have long expected, the steepest hikes will be imposed on the healthy, the young, and the male. And Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies will primarily benefit those nearing retirement—people who, unlike the young, have had their whole lives to save for their health-care needs.

Obamacare’s supporters argue that these rate increases aren’t important, because many people will be protected from them by federal subsidies. Those subsidies aren’t free—they’re paid for by taxpayers–and so it is irresponsible for people to argue that subsidies somehow make irrelevant the underlying cost of health insurance.

Importantly, post-Obamacare exchange plans will typically have narrow networks of physicians and hospitals, especially excluding those tied to prestigious medical schools. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Edie Sundby, who struggles with gallbladder cancer, argues that her pre-Obamacare access to leading academic cancer centers like Stanford has “kept me alive,” and notes that the plans available to her on the exchange don’t allow her to keep her doctor.

Right now, the headlines are dominated with stories about the deep and thorough dysfunction of the federally-built Obamacare insurance exchange. It’s a serious problem. If the exchanges aren’t fixed soon, the likely outcome is that older, sicker, and poorer people sign up, while everyone else goes without coverage. That, in turn, will imbalance the insurance pool in the exchanges, making its products more expensive and subsidy-dependent. Those facing cancellation of their existing coverage face the greatest risk under the worst-case scenario.

Full article: … ies-flow-to-elderly/

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