Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
Open Enrollment for Obamacare started November 15th rather than October 1st. Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Exchanges was originally going start October 1,2014 to run until December 15,2014 for enrollees to have insurance on January 1,2015.
It think the open enrollment dates were delayed to prevent negative publicity for Democrats in the midterm elections. The date to close open enrollment has been moved to March 15th or March 31st2015 instead of December 31,2014.
President Obama is changing dates at will without congressional approval. It is creating confusion. Americans are giving up on following changes in the law.
President Obama probably believes, as Jonathon Gruber, that the American public is too stupid to follow all of his maneuvers.
It is impossible to know when open enrollment ends by following the mainstream media. I think it will end when the Obama administration has something to brag about despite what the law demands.
Early in 2014 it became clear to health insurance consultants that the healthcare insurance industry would raise Obamacare 2015 premiums by double digits (15-30%). The demographic of 2014 enrollees was actuarially unsound according to the healthcare insurance industry.
The Obama administration expressed fear that the healthcare insurance industry would not participate in the health insurance exchanges because they were destined to loss money.
The Obama administration is presently boasting that the average premiums are going to rise only slightly in 2015.
Healthcare insurance companies are flocking to sell insurance in more markets rather than quitting the health insurance exchanges.
The Obama administration claims that Obamacare has created a competitive atmosphere for the healthcare insurance industry.
You bet it has. It has done the by creating subsidies for the healthcare insurance industry so it takes on no risk along with increased profit. This is the reason all the companies are fighting to get into the health insurance exchange market.
President Obama has offered to bail out the healthcare insurance companies if they do not make an adequate profit in the health insurance exchange.
The mainstream traditional media has not reported that Obamacare provided insurance company subsidies, nor have the subsidies been connected to the dampening of extreme increases predicted for premiums in 2015.
However, the decreases that are being reported by the Obama administration are deceptive.
Below is a CMS provided map of states and counties with either increases or decreases in premiums.
In about a fifth of the counties in states using the federal insurance exchange, premiums for the lowest-priced silver plans will increase by 10 percent or more. But rates for the same plans will decrease in all of Maine, Montana and New Hampshire, and most parts of Mississippi and South Dakota. NOV. 14, 2014
Largest decrease: -28.0%
Greatest increase: +29.5%
Minneapolis, Honolulu, Seattle, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis, New Orleans , Dallas, Boston, Tampa, Philadelphia Detroit, Anchorage, San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. New York all are experiencing increases in premiums.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
A PricewaterhouseCoopers report on all individual market premiums — on and off Obamacare exchanges — found a large range of rate changes, from a drastic 35 percent hike in Colorado to a 22 percent cut, also in Colorado (the state’s Obamacare exchange changed the geographic rating areas this year to cut costs for ski resort towns). Overall, the average rate hike nationwide is 5.6 percent, according to PWC.
The published map belies the Obama administration’s claim that premiums have been, on the average, lowered. It does not take into account population density in counties where premiums are lowered or raised.
The premiums in some states could be lowered. However, the high deductibles included in these health insurance plans have not been lowered. The high deductibles are out of pocket expenses. The high deductibles continue to be unaffordable to many even thought these enrollees might receive sizable “tax credits? subsidies?” to help them pay for the premiums.
In January 2014, I described the subsidies provided by the Obama administration to the healthcare insurance industry. The Obama administration guaranteed a profit for participating in the health insurance exchange at no risk through the Reinsurance program and the Risk Corridor program that is buried in Obamacare.
(Nancy Pelosi: “We will not know what is in the bill until we pass the bill.”)
It is similar to the deception “If you like your insurance you can keep it. If you like you doctor you can keep him/her.”
Last week we learned that the insurance company bailout was built into the original bill passed in 2010. The President knew about this bailout before Obamacare was passed.
Did the congressional members who passed the bill know about the built in bailout?
If they did they should all be voted out of office. If the Democrats needed to pass Obamacare did not know about the bailout they should have and they should all be voted out.
It should be recalled that this was a Democrat controlled House and Senate. There was not a single Republican vote included in the passage of Obamacare.
The American people did not know about the built in bailout at taxpayers’ expense.
Obamacare contains a "Reinsurance Program that caps big claim costs for insurers (individual plans only)." Robert Laszewski, a prominent consultant to health insurance companies, writes that in 2014, 80% of individual costs between $45,000 and $250,000 are paid by the government [read: by taxpayers], for example."
Private insurance plans bought through the health insurance exchanges are not private health insurance plans. They are plans that are subsidized by the government if the insurance bill goes over $45,000.
Who pays this government subsidy?
The taxpayers, by having their taxes increased.
Who makes the profit from this subsidy?
The healthcare insurance industry makes the profit because the insurance policies have been priced at high risk (Increased deductibles, and increased premiums for consumers not eligible for government subsidies).
"The reinsurance program has done and will continue to do what it was intended to do; help attract and keep more carriers in Obamacare than might have otherwise come." Thus, Obamacare is being aided by having taxpayers subsidize big insurance companies' business expenses.”
Obamacare also provides the healthcare industry a greater subsidy. It is called the “Risk Corridor Program”. The “Risk Corridor Program” limits the overall losses of the healthcare insurance industry to 2.4%.
This is the way the “Risk Corridor Program” works. The healthcare insurance company submits its expected costs to the government for a particular year.
If the expected costs of the insurance exceed 102%, the government will pay the healthcare insurance company 80% of the difference above 102% at taxpayers’ expense.
"If the health plan has costs at 110% of the medical cost target [the costs that the insurer expects to accrue], it will be responsible for only 102.4% of the target (a 2.4% shortfall)-only about a quarter of its losses.”
There is little risk to the healthcare insurance company for being involved in the healthcare insurance exchanges.
The key point is President Obama had this written into Obamacare without telling taxpayers about it. I wonder if the CBO knew about it and calculated it into the original cost estimates of Obamacare.
There are many other deceptions that lie ahead. Now that the Jonathan Gruber controversy has increased the American public’s awareness of Obamacare deceptions Americans will begin to shout about the costs and rationing of care.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.
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