Another year, another ridiculously high health insurance rate hike.
Last week I received my health insurance information packet for the upcoming year. I’m the lucky winner of a 53% increase to my health insurance premium. 5-3. I’m young, healthy, and was forced last year into an HMO after the PPOs on the exchanges withdrew their offerings due to inability to offer competitive rates.
And no, I don’t receive a subsidy.
To keep my current plan, I’ll have to pay more for one month than I would paying the no-insurance penalty.
But I’m not the only one — millions of other self-employed individuals who aren’t privy to employer-sponsored benefit plans, purchase their health insurance on their state exchanges too. And they’re all experiencing sticker shock.
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. That’s sure to stoke another “Obamacare” controversy days before a presidential election.
Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.
Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will only have plans from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles.
“Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period,” said Larry Levitt, who tracks the health care law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
The vast majority of the more than 10 million customers who purchase through HealthCare.gov and its state-run counterparts do receive generous financial assistance. “Enrollment is concentrated among very low-income individuals who receive significant government subsidies to reduce premiums and cost-sharing,” said Caroline Pearson of the consulting firm Avalere Health
But an estimated 5 million to 7 million people are either not eligible for the income-based assistance, or they buy individual policies outside of the health law’s markets, where the subsidies are not available. The administration is urging the latter group to check out HealthCare.gov. The spike in premiums generally does not affect the employer-provided plans that cover most workers and their families.
In some states, the premium increases are striking. In Arizona, unsubsidized premiums for a hypothetical 27-year-old buying a benchmark “second-lowest cost silver plan” will jump by 116 percent, from $196 to $422, according to the administration report.
Then of course there’s the Obamacare architect himself saying this all working according to plan.
Obamacare is effectively and intentionally killing America’s health insurance marketplace. Adding insult to injury, this tabloid trash election cycle means real issues affecting millions of Americans get very little attention. It’s hard to care about who eyed what woman decades ago when you’re wondering how you’re going to pay for insurance.
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