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More Bad News On the Obamacare Front: Thousands to Lose Subsidies, Premiums Soaring

More Bad News On the Obamacare Front: Thousands to Lose Subsidies, Premiums Soaring

Obamacare, the disaster that keeps on giving

I started writing this post before I checked the mail today.

Needing a break from the computer screen, I wandered out to the mailbox to find an “OPEN IMMEDIATELY, THE APOCALYPSE IS NIGH” envelope from my health insurance provider, tucked between the junk mail and a cooking magazine. Sure enough, it was a cancellation notice. Now, I too am a victim of Obamacare’s reign of insurance premium of terror.

Not to worry though. I can pay 20% more for less coverage and a deductible increase from $500 to $3250.


But my story is small potatoes compared to many families who are forced to watch in horror as their health insurance premiums triple and their deductibles multiply faster than rabbits.

The Obama administration acknowledged Monday that consumers would see health insurance premium increases across the board in 2016. They claim the average premium increases clocks in at 7.5%, though I have no idea where they’re getting these numbers. Don’t want to pay more? Then go back to the exchanges and shop around. You might pay less, but you’ll also have fewer benefits and higher deductibles.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Federal officials said Monday that the price of the second-lowest-cost midrange “silver plan”—a key metric for premiums around the country—will increase by 7.5% on average across the three-dozen states that rely on Washington to administer the health law for them.

And 60% of enrollees—across 30 of the largest markets in the U.S.—will see the average rate for that benchmark plan rise by 6.3%, according to a Health and Human Services report on premium data that hasn’t yet been made fully public.

The higher premiums are likely to intensify Republicans’ claims that the health law isn’t holding down costs. The Obama administration is urging customers to go back online during open enrollment, which begins Nov. 1, and shop around to see if they can limit the impact of the cost increases.

“For most consumers, premium increases for 2016 are in the single digits and they will be able to find plans for less than $100 a month,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the health-insurance marketplaces.

Less than $100 a month? I’ll have whatever that guy’s smoking.

Insurers, who have priced plans for 2016 in part based on what they experienced in 2015, also faced higher costs in part due to rising prescription-drug prices, and they saw lower-than-expected payouts from a federal program that aims to offset carriers’ risk by providing funds to companies with costlier, sicker consumers.

“7.5% is lower than forecast in the spring, when we were hearing what rate increases would be like,” said Cheryl Fish-Parcham, director of the private insurance program at Families USA, a group that advocates for the health law. “It shows the rate review process has worked in many states.”

Averages don’t reflect what individual consumers will see, and premium amounts vary across the country. Some enrollees may see significantly higher or more modest rate increases.

State insurance regulators around the country have largely approved all or most of the hefty premium increases sought by the largest health plans for 2016. Some have jumped by double digits: On average, premiums will rise in 2016 for the second lowest-cost silver plan by 31.5% in Alaska and 22.9% in Oregon, according to the report. Oklahoma will see a 35.7% hike.

Adding fuel to the Obamacare dumpster fire are the estimated 710,000 people who received a health insurance subsidy, but didn’t file a tax return for 2014 nor did they request an extension. Those folks? They’ll lose their subsidy and be forced to pay the full premium price — a price most can’t afford.

The New York Times reported Sunday:

Erin M. Lackey, 41, of Jacksonville, Vt., was one of many people who received letters from the I.R.S. saying they were at risk of losing their tax credits.

Her mother, Ruth J. O’Hearn, a nurse who helps her daughter with insurance matters, described her own reaction.

“At first, I was angry,” Ms. O’Hearn said. “Then I felt frustration and fear. You can’t be without insurance. Without the subsidy, health insurance would be unaffordable. Without insurance, the cost of medical care would be unaffordable.”

Yet another 760,000 received subsidies, but failed to complete the proper form saying the I.R.S. Form 8962 was “daunting.”

“The premium tax credit form, the dreaded 8962, is really hard,” said Eileen P. Duggan, a piano teacher and freelance writer in Maplewood, Mo., outside St. Louis, who filed the form with her tax return. “It’s enough to make you cry, that form. It was almost impossible to figure out.”

The federal government provides subsidies in the form of tax credits, which cover about 70 percent of premiums, on average. The I.R.S. commissioner, John A. Koskinen, said 97 percent of people who received such assistance claimed it in advance, before filing their taxes. The amount of the subsidy is based in part on how much income the recipient expects to have in the coming year.

Two-thirds of people using the federal exchange have incomes less than twice the poverty level (less than $23,540 a year for an individual).

I shudder to think what happens to premiums when the 1.4 million who either failed to file proper IRS paperwork or file their 2014 taxes lose their subsidies, then stop paying for health insurance they’re unable to afford. Someone will have to make up the difference, and I imagine that someone will be me.

In sum:


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nordic_prince | October 27, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Obamacrap is a fustercluck. For Zero, that’s a feature, not a bug. The more misery and pain he can spread, the better. The fact that people’s pockets are being picked just makes it all the nicer. Gotta pay for his vacays, gotta pay for corporate welfare, gotta pay for cadillac entitlements for illegal aliens, you know ~

WE have to pass the bill, so that YOU can find out what is in it.”

The great American experiment sinks rapidly into the abyss, as this once great nation of hardworking people have become sheep wandering aimlessly into oblivion.
All the conservative Jeremiahs are ignored as they preach in the wilderness: Repent! Return to the values that made us great!
Fear not, our national destruction is coming, and truth be told. We deserve it. We called this destruction on ourselves. But it will bring historic damnation of Obama, Clinton, turncoat Republicans and the legion of fascist Democrats. Aside from that, look to protecting your own.

It’s a planned Cluster F*ck. He’ll be gone and unaccountable voters, the Dems will say it was the GOPs’ resistance that caused it (and the MSM will play that up) all in the purpose of pushing for a national-payer insurance

Obamacare is the biggest lie since Eve handed Adam an apple and told him it was health food. Sorry about your health care Kemberlee. Mine was cancelled two years ago, and the alternative metal plan was almost twice the monthly cost, with less coverage and, of course, three times the deductible. Blue Cross had the unmitigated gall to call it affordable.

Guys, just so you know. The kiddies at Reddit are all of the opinion that anything that works will have to be a single-payor system.

These people are relatively young, generally tech-oriented, and not stupid, with a strong libertarian streak.

The Repubs have their work cut out for them. In order to get Obamacare repealed, they MUST present a workable alternative, and it MUST be something that can be described in just a few sentences.

Personally, I think this country is just too damn big for a single-payor system, and a single-payor system tends to be far too easily corrupted. Also, a single-payor is by definition too big to fail. Who needs that? Soooo. We need a multitudinous payor-system. Rules that make insurance portable across state lines, after divorce, and until young people can stabilize their separate lives, as well as rules that encourage the proliferation of businesses, would work much better.

We need to talk about this in terms that young people can understand, because the lil’ rascals will vote.

    Valerie in reply to Valerie. | October 27, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    We also need to make self-insurance cheap.

    Olinser in reply to Valerie. | October 27, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Which was the intent of Obamacare FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.

    Conservatives were saying it from day one. Obamacare was a piece of trash, unworkable mess that was DESIGNED to fail, but to cripple so much of the private health insurance industry in the process of failing that the only solution would be single payer.

    That was the big reason liberals were so pissed about the website not working. Because it was failing TOO FAST, and it looked like it was government’s fault that it was failing. They managed to prop it up and limp along so that it can continue to destroy the private health industry before finally self destructing.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Valerie. | October 27, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Just as you cannot have a welfare state and open borders, neither can you have single payer health insurance and an open border.

Look at the bright side: absent more extralegal maneuvering, the dreaded Business Mandate kicks in next year. Fun times for all!

My own premium for personal coverage was $248/month in 2012, with basically prescription coverage, a $500 deductible, and 80/20 to a total out-of-pocket stop-loss point of $2500.

Now it’s $449, the deductible is $7600. And they tell me it’s not grandfathered in, so will likely be unavailable next year.

Hi Kemberlee,

When the exchange bombed repeatedly for me and then gave me an erroneous referral to state medicaid, I began reading up on exemptions to Obamacare. Christians can take an exemption from Obamacare by enrolling in an HCSM (Health Care Sharing Ministry). There are 3 in the US: Christian Health Care Ministries (which I use for $150/mo.), Samaritan, Liberty and Medi-Share. See for some information.

I feel a lot better about belonging to an HCSM than insurance, because my monthly premium goes directly to pay the medical needs of other member believers. They put out a nice monthly newsletter, prayer needs bulletin, etc. If not for HCSM exception from Obamacare, I’d be looking at monthly premiums of about $800. My deductible per occurrence with Chistian Health Care Ministries is $500. Note that I do have to do some of my own cost negotiations to secure discounts comparable to those given to the insurance companies … but once the bills have been negotiated, CHM pays 100% after my $500/deductible.

Also, it is not insurance per se. It is group of people who have agreed to help one another with their medical bills.

All the best to you, Kemberlee. Hope you are able to find affordable coverage. Obummer certainly has made a mess of things!

Ah, Europeanization! How Continentally Utopian!

holdingmynose | October 28, 2015 at 6:04 am

Just hold out until 2017. President Trump will work with Congress and Speaker Ryan to fix everything. Of course the party of “Why Nothing Can Be Done” will be stymied by the LibDems in the Senate and President Trump will sulk after LibDem Senate Minority Leader Schumer says something bad about him.

Empress Trudy | October 28, 2015 at 8:25 am

The only solution is to abolish health insurance. Make everyone pay the bill themselves. Prices will crash through the floor in two years.

Sammy Finkelman | October 28, 2015 at 4:23 pm

“The premium tax credit form, the dreaded 8962, is really hard,” said Eileen P. Duggan, a piano teacher and freelance writer in Maplewood, Mo., outside St. Louis, who filed the form with her tax return. “It’s enough to make you cry, that form. It was almost impossible to figure out.”

This needs more attention.

Of course, Obama and the Democrats don’t care about how easy or hard or impossible it is to fill out the forms. It’s all an afterthought. They never have problems. They pay accountants or use tax software and keep records.

A lot of people who were directed to Medicaid may get $15,000 bills if they got a job pretty soon. This happened in New York State even before the law went into effect because now Medicaid is an HMO, so even if they don’t use a doctor, New York State was paying a $15,000 premium. (this actually went down with Obamacare)

Or, if because they afraid to go on Medicaid again, they let insurance lapse for awhile, they may find it impossible to find out how to obtain a hardship exemption number for the previous year so that they don’t have to pay the penalty.

Of course, nobody will be doing any checking or audits or anything, not till a Republican or Hillary Clinton is president, or until a couple of years go by, and the bills for Medicaid will not be collected, except maybe if somebody wins the lottery.