Half of Obamacare enrollees are skipping doctor visits to save money

Can you cover more people for more conditions and have costs go down?
Can you cover more people for more conditions and have costs go down?

(click for larger image)

Obamacare enrollees are covered, but they’re not really covered, because they can’t afford doctor visits.

The Washington Free Beacon explains.

Excerpt:

Half of Obamacare enrollees are skipping doctor visits to save money, according to a report from GfK, a market research group.

Only 33 percent of the general insured population is doing the same, according to the report.

“Even before the news broke that the cost of mid-range health insurance from the Affordable Care Act exchanges will rise about 25%, millions of Obamacare customers were already skipping doctor visits to save money,” the study said. “With mid-level exchange premiums set to rise about 25%, more cutbacks in care seem likely.”

Obamacare enrollees were asked what steps they had taken in the past year to lower their health care costs.

Thirty-six percent of Obamacare enrollees cut back on doctor visits even when they were sick, 22 percent skipped preventive care, 12 percent reduced lab testing, and 12 percent delayed surgery.

“Exchange users with lower incomes (below $25,000 a year) are turning to urgent care facilities and ‘minute clinics’ in huge numbers; 27% have done so in the past year, compared to just 12% of the overall [Affordable Care Act] customer population,” the study says.

“Visiting one of these outlets is often appealing to people who may have not formed lasting relationships with providers, especially as costs can be substantially lower,” the study said.

[…]“As we approach another enrollment period for the ACA, it’s important to understand why the exchanges are failing,” said Brian Blase, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center. “The law made insurance way too unattractive for relatively young and healthy people who are largely choosing to pay the individual mandate tax penalty instead of purchasing coverage.”

“Only those who receive giant subsidies are signing up for coverage in significant numbers, and many are gaming the new rules to enroll only when they need expensive medical services,” he said. “This year’s huge premium increases combined with much less choice of plans for Americans across the country demonstrate the law is wrecking the individual market for insurance and needs large scale revision.”

Yes, this is the so-called Obamacare death spiral, which has older sicker people signing up for health care, but young healthy people not signing up because there is no value for them. When only sick people sign up, the costs go up, because the payouts are higher. It’s like having an auto insurance plan that is only used by those with bad driving records. Naturally, the costs will be higher, and the only way to balance it out is to force people who drive safely and don’t make any claims to join anyway, and pay for something they won’t use.

Obama’s solution to this problem of young people not signing up  is to punish them with fines.

CBS News explains:

Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama’s health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday.

To make matters worse, the penalty for individuals and families who did not have health insurance in 2016 will also nearly double as compared to fees for 2015 tax returns when revisions to the Affordable Care Act go into effect.

According to the IRS, shared responsibility payments will jump to $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, with the family maximum not to exceed $2,085 or 2.5 percent income above the filing threshold. That’s up from $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, with a maximum of $975 per family for the 2015 tax year.

What were the young people thinking when they voted for a deal like this? Well, they weren’t thinking at all – that’s the problem. Their brains don’t work, so they just do whatever is popular. They don’t have enough real life experience to separate the celebrity worship from the economics. And they don’t respect the judgment of those who are older and wiser.

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