Tag Archives: Enrollment

Obama voters face choice between an expensive fine and an expensive Bronze plan

Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?
Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?

Obama told us during his election campaigns that health care premiums would go down an average of $2,500. How did he intend to achieve that? By reducing choice and competition, and require insurance companies to cover more stuff, like drug addiction therapy, onto every health care plan.

Here he is promising things to young voters:

So what happened? Health care premiums went up, because the more stuff that your health care plan has to cover (e.g. – drug addiction treatment) the more you have to pay for that health care plan. And so, as I blogged about before, health care premiums have actually gone up $4,865 on average, per year. Yes, this is another case of keep your doctor / keep your health plan lies.

Well, that’s all fine and good, because this is America, and no one will be forced to buy these expensive plans that cover things that you don’t want or need, right? Well, not so much. See, there is this Obamacare thing called the “individual mandate”, and it says that everyone has to buy health care, or they have to pay a fine. Even single young men in their 30s who don’t even need health care have to buy health care.

Investors Business Daily explains:

Millions of people who will start shopping for ObamaCare plans as early as Sunday will have one question in mind: How much is the cheapest plan for avoiding a $695 individual mandate penalty?

For the vast majority, that means the cheapest bronze plan. The next question they’ll consider, taking into account the deductible that will rise as high as $6,850 in 2016, is whether they would be better off paying a penalty.

A lot of factors will play into the decision, but for most relatively young and healthy adults, the biggest will be just how much more it will cost to get insurance than to go without coverage.

An IBD review of 2016 rates in one major metro area in each of the 37 states using HealthCare.gov reveals where higher bronze-plan costs — even after subsidies — will make the mandate penalty look relatively attractive.

So you either have to pay a $695 or you have to buy a bronze plan with a $6,850 deductible. Most people never use that much health care, so they will be paying out of pocket for all their health care anyway. So, either you are paying a fine that covers nothing, or you are paying for a plan that covers nothing.

Here is the chart of bronze health care plans:

Obamacare Bronze plans: and don't forget the $6850 deductibles
Obamacare Bronze plans (click for larger image)

More:

The accompanying chart lists the after-subsidy cost of the cheapest bronze plan for a 30-year-old earning 257% of the poverty level, or about $30,000. At the top of the chart, young adults earning $30,000 in Miami, Atlanta and Jackson, Miss., would have to pay more than $2,200 for the cheapest exchange plan — or more than triple the mandate penalty.

What’s nice about this is the justice of it. It’s the young, hip, middle-class young people who are going to end up with the bill for their Democrat-voting in 2008 and 2012.

The question is whether average moderate-earning 30-year-olds, assuming they have that much money available for insurance, will think it is better to pay an extra $1,130 or so for a plan with a huge deductible or whether it makes sense to hope for the best and hold on to that cash to pay any medical bills that arise.

A logical goal of the individual mandate is to get young and healthy adults with moderate incomes to sign up for coverage, since low-income young adults get pretty big subsidies and may not need as much of a push to enroll. Yet ObamaCare’s individual mandate does not seem well designed to achieve its goal, which helps explain why young-adult enrollment is somewhere around 2 million below target at this point.

Health care reform is a valid goal, and we do need health care to get cheaper. But the way to do that is not to elect someone who has not done it, but who just makes a lot of promises. The way to fix health care is by electing someone who has experience at fixing health care.

Obamacare enrollment of young adults about 50 percent below target

If you remember, Obamacare works by forcing young people (especially young men) to pay for care they don’t need and won’t use. This lowers the costs of health care for younger women and especially for older, sicker people. The target is 2.7 million enrollments of people from age 18-34.  But are young people signing up for this plan in numbers like that?

Investors Business Daily has the answer.

Excerpt:

Data through five months of the open-enrollment period show that slightly fewer than 10% of eligible 18- to 34-year-olds have signed up for coverage. Among young men, roughly 1 in 12 has signed up.

The Kaiser Family Foundation puts the ObamaCare-eligible population at 28.6 million, with 40%, or about 11.4 million, in the 18-to-34 age group.

Compared to the size of the potential market, the first-year target of 7 million enrollees, including about 2.8 million young adults, was relatively modest.

Yet it’s now clear that the initial target is well out of reach. The Avalere Health consultancy projected that sign-ups — paid and unpaid — will end March at around 5.4 million.

Through February, not quite 1.1 million young adults had selected an exchange plan. Among this group, the male-female breakdown was about 45% vs. 55%. That matters because women at child-rearing age are more likely to run up big medical bills.

In February, 268,000 18- to 34-year-olds signed up, so a decent upsurge in March could lift the total close to 1.4 million. But that’s before winnowing out the people who don’t pay.

Anecdotal reports from a handful of states and large insurers now point to a paid rate of about 85%, possibly lower.

While that could improve before the March 31 deadline, there’s reason to suspect that the paid percentage might lag among young adults, since they are showing more reticence about signing up in the first place.

Once the unpaid group is subtracted, it appears likely that young-adult enrollees will fall at least 50% below the first-year target The White House had initially set that target at 2.7 million.

[…]The age mix is important because the exchanges charge younger people higher premiums relative to pre-ObamaCare individual market insurance, so that older people can be charged less without negating insurer profits.

If young adults make up just 25% of the ObamaCare exchange population, it would wipe out much, but not all, of the 3% to 4% profit margin insurers typically allow for in setting premiums, Kaiser Family Foundation experts figure.

Yet that calculation assumes the health status of those who do sign up is about average. In general, an insured pool comprising a smaller share of the eligible group raises concern that the covered group will be costlier than average.

So they are expecting 2.7 million, but even with a late surge of enrollments, they are only going to get 1.4 million young people. That’s bad for Democrats, but I am happy that young men are not signing up for this law. They have nothing to gain from it. Maybe this whole mess will be worth it if young men understand that big government rides on the backs of young men. They are expected to pay the taxes, but without getting any of the benefits. Sex changes? IVF? Maternity? Well woman exam? Birth control pills? We don’t use that. We don’t mind paying for that for our wives, but we don’t want to pay for it for complete strangers.

Health insurance companies will raise rates to comply with Obamacare delay

CNS News explains how health insurance companies will respond to the last-minute attempt by Democrats to delay the implementation of Obamacare.

Excerpt:

After President Obama unilaterally changed his health care law on Thursday, the insurance industry issued a warning.

“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” said Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

Here’s Ignagni’s full statement:

Making sure consumers have secure, affordable coverage is health plans’ top priority.  The only reason consumers are getting notices about their current coverage changing is because the ACA requires all policies to cover a broad range of benefits that go beyond what many people choose to purchase today.

Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace.  If due to these changes fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase in the marketplace and there will be fewer choices for consumers.  Additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate the adverse impact on consumers.

A recent Weekly Standard podcast predicts that the Democrats are going to come down hard on insurance companies, and blame them for the failure of Obamacare.

Obama vows to veto Republican “Keep Your Health Plan Act” bill

Face a revolt among his own party, the President decided to delay the implementation of his own failed health care policy, until after the 2014 elections. He did this to help Democrat candidates in red states to not be thrown out for enacting a policy that will cancel the health care plans of millions of Americans. After the elections, Obamacare will take effect as planned and millions of Americans will lose their health care.

The Republicans have an alternate plan – let people keep their health care plans if they like them, just as Obama promised before he was re-elected.

Excerpt:

House Republican leaders announced Wednesday the lower chamber will vote next week on a bill that would allow people to keep their health insurance plan if they like it.

The vote hits at President Obama, who, during the debate over the Affordable Care Act, said people could keep their healthcare plans if they like them. Millions of people, however, have gotten cancelation notices because of ObamaCare’s new standards.

Late Wednesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced via Twitter that the bill would get a vote.

The Keep Your Health Plan Act, H.R. 3350, was introduced last week by House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and more than two dozen Republicans. As of Wednesday, co-sponsorship had grown to 88 members.

Upton’s bill authorizes insurance companies to keep offering plans that they have said need to be canceled because of ObamaCare’s new insurance standards. Since early October, companies have sent out millions of notices to enrollees saying their plans will be scrapped and, in many cases, replaced by more expensive plans.

“Despite the president’s repeated promise of ‘if you like your plan, you can keep it,’ many Americans are now learning the sad reality that their current plan will no longer exist beginning on Jan. 1,” Upton said last week. “Instead they are forced to purchase healthcare that they cannot afford through a system that does not even work, and that’s just not fair.”

The Weekly Standard reports that the Obama administration has threatened to veto the Republican “Keep Your Health Plan Act”. Why? Because the true purpose of Obamacare requires that healthy people get kicked off their plans, and that they be forced to buy more expensive plans that subsidize the treatments of less healthy people.

The chief architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, explained in a recent interview:

“We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick, if you are going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance,” Gruber told host Chuck Todd. “The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners, who’ve been paying their artificially low price because of this discrimination, now will have to pay more in return. And that, by my estimate is about 4 million people. In return, we’ll have a fixed system where over 30 million people will now, for the first time, be able to access fairly priced and guaranteed health insurance.” Emphases added.

This is monstrous. Gruber admits that “If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare” was a lie from the start. They never even intended to keep this promise, as doing so would destroy their scheme. The system Gruber describes is the intentional demolition of the private insurance industry, which bases prices on risk. He is also defining “discrimination” so far that given the chance, he would abolish capitalism and private property ownership itself.

That’s why Obama has to veto the bill – because he must accomplish his goal of making everyone’s life “equal” regardless of their individual choices. People who aren’t addicted to drugs must be forced to subsidize the drug addiction therapies of others. People who don’t have a promiscuous sex life must subsidize the promiscuous sex lives of others. People who don’t need abortion-inducing drugs must subsidize the abortion-inducing drugs of others. Wealth redistribution to equalize lifestyle outcomes. If you make good decisions in life, you must be punished. If you make bad decisions in life, you must be rewarded. If you earn money and save money because you have a plan of your own for marriage and family, then what you earn and save must be taken from you and given to others who earn nothing and save nothing and have no plans for marriage and family.

Not enough time to make the changes

James Pethokoukis explains that insurance companies don’t have enough time to restore the plans that Obamacare canceled. So the only real effect of Obama’s announcement is to give cover to Democrats who vote against the Keep Your Health Plan Act. That was the purpose of his press conference – to stop a revolt by people in his own party.

How many people signed up for Obamacare?

NBC News reports on the number of people who have signed up for Obamacare. It’s even lower than the estimate I reported earlier in the week.

Excerpt:

In a new low point for President Barack Obama and another ding against his signature domestic achievement, only 26,000 Americans signed up for health insurance plans in the month that the federal government’s troubled website has been open for business.

When figures from state-run exchanges are included, more than 106,000 Americans selected plans during the Affordable Care Act’s first month of open enrollment. Still, that number, combined with the administration’s repeated warnings of low early-enrollment figures, won’t mute the mounting political outcryfrom both sides of the aisle over the rocky rollout.

[…]Even the administration’s Democratic allies have begun to exhibit signs of nervousness.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Red State Democrat who’s up for re-election in Louisiana next fall, has proposed a patch to Obamacare that would allow consumers to keep insurance plans threatened by cancellation. The tweak would, in essence, force Obama to make good on his once-stated promise that individuals who like their health care plan could keep it.

The bill, passage of which would represent an embarrassment for Obama, has even won over some administration allies, including California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.  And former President Bill Clinton, whom Obama once dubbed his “explainer in chief,” didn’t help the White House on Tuesday when he endorsed a similar fix.

[…]Throughout it all, Obama’s approval ratings have plummeted to new lows, suffering from successive crises involving a Republican-led government shutdown and near-default on the national debt, and then the struggles of Healthcare.gov.

Breitbart News has more on the revolt of the Democrats who are up for election in 2014.

Excerpt:

On CNN’s The Lead, host Jake Tapper said that Democrats had refused to come on the program to discuss the abysmal Obamacare enrollment numbers released on Wednesday afternoon.

Dana Bash reported, “Republicans are tripping over themselves to come out and talk.” She continued, “we’re not hearing from Democrats so far, the sounds of silence, tells you everything you need to know.”

Tapper confirmed that Democrats were suddenly silent: “To be completely honest, we had difficult time booking Democrats to come on after those numbers were released, to have them come on and talk about fixing the problem.”

And moderate leftists Kirsten Powers and David Frum are furious that that their health care plans have been canceled, and even more furious at the White House spin on the millions of Americans who are losing their health care.

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, two prominent media personalities who support President Barack Obama’s overhaul of America’s health care system took to the airwaves to vent about their insurance plans which have been cancelled as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act.

In an appearance on Special Report on Tuesday, Fox News Channel contributor and Daily Beast editorial writer Kirsten Powers lashed out at the White House – and, by extension, her Democratic cohorts – for implying that her consumer choices were poorly informed and insufficiently focused on the collective good.

“My blood pressure goes up every time they say that they’re protecting us from substandard health insurance plans,” Powers told Bret Baier. “There is nothing to support what they’re saying.”

“I have talked to about how I’m losing my health insurance,” she continued. “If I want to keep the same health insurance, it’s going to cost twice as much. There’s nothing substandard about my plan.”

“All of the things they say that are not in my plan are in my plan,” Powers lamented. “All of the things they have listed — there’s no explanation for doubling my premiums other than the fact that it’s subsidizing other people. They need to be honest about that.”

Powers, a committed Democrat, once supported the aims of the ACA, if not every mean designed to achieve a noble end. Today, it would seem, she is wavering on the virtue of that end as well.

Powers is in good company. On CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, former Daily Beast columnist David Frum hijacked a conversation about President Bill Clinton’s shocking admonition of President Barack Obama to discuss his own cancelled health plan.

“I’m pulling rank,” Frum informed his fellow panel guests, “because I’m one of those who has had his plan canceled.”

“I still have, but will not very much longer have, a plan in the District of Columbia, covered my wife and my children, which is canceled,” he reported. “I can buy on the exchange a plan that will cost $200 a month more and have a higher deductible. I can’t get back my old plan unless, as Ron [Brownstein] says, the administration drops the element of the law that requires the coverage of everybody.”

“That’s why my coverage went up is because every insurer must now cover everybody,” Frum continued. “I think President Clinton should have the honesty to defend that.”

It’s all falling apart, but will it be in time? I have friends who are in the individual market who are losing their health care and being offered plans with higher deductibles AND higher co-payments,  that cost far more than what they had. We really need to see a push to repeal this monstrosity now before more people have to suffer from it.