A November Surprise Democrats would like to avoid
The latest Obamacare gift to consumers? MORE RATE HIKES!
Unfortunately (or fortunately — depending on where you stand) for Democrats, pending rate increase announcements could not come at a worse time. Open enrollment begins the first week of November, just in time for Obamacare and independent health insurance consumers to take their sticker shock to the ballot box.
Last month, the country’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth, announced its withdrawal from several Obamacare exchanges and projected losses of around $650 million this year alone. Other large insurers are eyeing the vacated territory, but none have committed yet.
Insurer complaints are the same — health insurance consumers are sicker and older than their original models predicted, making affordable insurance a virtually impossible offering.
Under the health law, plans are unable to choose who to insure, or how much to charge them based on their medical history. As a result, many plans enrolled a larger proportion of sicker people than they bargained for. But some of those losses were also a function of political wrangling after Republican lawmakers blocked payments that were supposed to help insurers get through the difficult first years.
The timing, though, is bad news for Democrats. Proposed rate hikes are just starting to dribble out, setting up a battle over health insurance costs in a tumultuous presidential election year that will decide the fate of Obamacare.
And the headlines are likely to keep coming right up to Election Day since many consumers won’t see actual rates until the insurance marketplaces open Nov. 1 — a week before they go to the polls.
The Democratic presidential ticket might not be the only casualty of Obamacare’s failings. Down ballot candidates too, are imperiled. Obamacare was a hot ticket issue in 2014. Republicans successfully tied ALL Democrats to the President’s hallmark legislation with great results, and that was without double-digit rate hikes.
New regulations now make it impossible for Obamacare and private health insurance consumers to participate in Health Savings Accounts, non-profit Obamacare exchanges are dropping like flies, all the while premiums increase, coverage shrinks, and deductibles balloon.
The law’s disastrous ramifications on health insurance consumers are a feature of Obamacare, not a glitch.
Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekayeDONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.