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December 27, 2013

Sticker Shock: Half of People in Obamacare Federal Exchange Can't Find Plan That's Affordable

Topics: Political News and commentaries

ocare sticker shock.jpg

But... but ... but ... isn't it called the "'Affordable' Care Act"?

Well, yes ... that's the name, however according to a report in USA Today, at least half of the counties being covered by the federal exchange do not have a plan which is affordable for those not eligible for subsidies.

[...] The USA TODAY analysis looked at whether premiums for the least expensive plan in any of the metal levels was more than 8% of household income. That's similar to the affordability test used by the federal government to determine whether premiums are so expensive consumers aren't required to buy plans under the Affordable Care Act.

The number of people who earn close to the subsidy cutoff and are priced out of affordable coverage may be a small slice of the estimated 4.4 million people buying their own insurance and ineligible for subsidies. But the analysis clearly shows how the sticker shock hitting many in the middle class, including the self-employed and early retirees, isn't just a perception problem. The lack of counties with affordable plans means many middle-class people will either opt out of insurance or pay too much to buy it.

The prices of exchange plans have shocked many shoppers, especially those who had plans canceled because they did not meet the ACA coverage requirements. But experts are not surprised.

"The ACA was not designed to reduce costs or, the law's name notwithstanding, to make health insurance coverage affordable for the vast majority of Americans," says health care consultant Kip Piper, a former government and insurance industry official. "The law uses taxpayer dollars to lower costs for the low-income uninsured but it also increases costs overall and shifts costs within the marketplace."

More here ...

USA Today's analysis mirrors that of The Heritage Foundation who conducted a similar county-by-county analysis of Obamacare's impact on insurance markets earlier this year.

In the vast majority of states, the number of insurers competing in the state's exchange is actually less than the number of carriers that previously sold individual market policies in the state.

At the local level, in over half of the 3,135 counties in the U.S., consumers will face an exchange market that is either a duopoly or monopoly. In 78 percent of U.S. counties, exchange enrollees will have a choice of coverage from three or fewer carriers.

The exchange market in over 94 percent of U.S. counties will feature competition among five or fewer companies. In Alabama, about 96 percent of that state's counties will have only one insurer offering coverage in the exchange.

The Heritage Foundation points out that analyzing insurer participation in both federal and state-run exchanges shows that the President's health care law has almost completely failed to increase insurance market competition. In fact, a recent Heritage study found that 42 of the 47 states for which comparable premium data is available will see significant average premium increases -- in many cases, over 100 percent -- for individuals purchasing from the exchanges.Competition has the ability to lower costs and improve quality, but Obamacare exchanges do not achieve this goal.

Surely, this comes as no surprise to the Democrats that rammed it through Congress ... knowing all along that Obamacare would cause millions to lose health care coverage and that costs would be increased.

Posted by Hyscience at December 27, 2013 11:39 AM

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