From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:
Obamacare: The ‘Success’ Story Continues
“If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable,” President Obama promised in 2012.
The fact that this wasn’t true would be our biggest disappointment. In November 2013, Jim learned his small-business policy would be canceled because it didn’t comply with the new mandate to cover pediatric dentistry and maternity care. So Jim went to Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, to look for coverage for his employee and himself.
He found that the cost of his employee’s individual “bronze” plan monthly premiums went up 13 percent, and that his own new individual “silver” plan was also more expensive. In 2014, Jim was individually paying $82 more a month in premiums. The deductible (the amount you have to pay before the insurance company starts footing the bill) did go down — from $5,000 to $2,000 for each individual insured. But if you added together 12 months of premiums, the deductible, and the new policies’ out-of-pocket maximums, we were potentially on the hook for $13,260 — rather than the $11,024 from 2013 — if Jim got very sick.
She details having to change doctors because they weren’t accepting their new insurance – remember “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? – and the outlook for the future is pretty grim:
What Obamacare hasn’t eliminated is worry: We’re deeply concerned about our ability to get quality medical care from doctors we trust. The day may soon come when we can’t afford the plans our doctors accept, or we’ll have to wait hours to seen. Will the best doctors flock to a cash-only model? How long can a good doctor be satisfied with the $39.75 the insurance company paid her for my annual check up a few months ago?
We had thought that our work and businesses had paid us enough to live on in these older years — but we’re discovering we didn’t account for such dramatic increases in health care costs. Medical expenses already gobble up 20 percent of our income. In 2015, if we keep the same plans, our premiums will rise $95 a month. We have no choice to opt out of the required pediatric dentistry or maternity coverage we’ll never use, so we’ll eventually have to settle for less generous policies, with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
Just wait until they get their tax bill for next year!
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was head of the CBO from 2003 to 2005 and is currently president of the American Action Forum, said Dec. 5 that the Affordable Care Act’s subsidy payments made for 2014 are unlikely to have been accurate, which means some people will have to reimburse the government for over-payments. Holtz-Eakin spoke at a forum sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research on what the next Republican Congress will do on health care.
The 2015 tax filing season “is going to be a disaster,” he warned, adding that the result may be more traction in Congress for major changes to the law.
At least enrollment is okay, right?
The latest enrollment data filled out the demographic small print that was lacking in President Barack Obama’s mid-April announcement that enrollment in the exchanges had passed 8 million — exceeding goals and expectations for an open enrollment season that got off to a disastrous start.
When no one was paying attention, enrollment dropped 16 percent.
Just before open enrollment began, there were about 6.7 million people enrolled in Obamacare plans nationally.
HHS overcounted . . . twice.