Archive for the ‘#insurance’ Tag

ACA Repeal Failed … So What?   Leave a comment

Related imageSo the Republican Senate failed to tweak the misnamed Affordable Care Act (ACA) and then they failed to repeal the individual mandate and most of us who are being damaged by this destructive law are frustrated, but let’s be honest – what Congress was proposing wasn’t going to fix Obamacare. It is a deeply flawed law at fundamental levels because it ignores economic realities and anything that affects 1/5th of the US economy must be grounded on firm economic principles. So we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s failing.

We also shouldn’t be surprised that the GOP can’t fix it because they fear a backlash from the public who are being brainwashed to believe they need to prepay approximately 16,000 a year for medical care.

That is how US medical “insurance” works. It is not health insurance as insurance normally works. I have car, house and life insurance. These policies are much less expensive than medical “insurance”. I pay less per month for all three of these policies than I do for my portion of my employer-provided medical insurance. Why do I have those insurances? I mean, my car insurance doesn’t pay to repair my car or put new tires on it. My life insurance is only going to pay out if I die. My house insurance will pay me something if I have a fire or a tree falls on the roof, but it won’t replace the shingles if they wear out and the money for the new kitchen flooring must come out of my pocket. So why do I have these insurances since they don’t act like medical “insurance”? I have them to mitigate my financial liability in the event of a catastrophic event. If I die, if my house catches on fire, if some idiot slides into me at an intersection … but not for everyday expenses.

This is substantially different from how medical “insurance” works under the ACA. It covers day-to-day medical expenses. You can even get reimbursed for some over-the-counter medications. It’s not, truly, insurance. It’s prepayment of a portion of future medical care. I pay about $5000 a year for my portion of my employer-provided medical prepayment, but I have friends who are paying more than $16,000 a year for the same service and I know some people who would be paying nearly $30,000 a year (through the ACA exchanges) but they’ve opted not to participate in the stupidity any longer. Some people would say they are the reason the ACA is failing.

Let’s give them a round of applause!

 

In the Alaska Dispatch News this week, commenters were saying the ACA was required because the insurance and medical care systems were on the verge of collapse in 2009 and without the ACA, none of us would have medical care now. Let’s not get confused here — medical insurance is NOT medical care. I have medical insurance and the cost of it makes it difficult for me to afford medical care. I have never used more than $5000 in a year for medical care. If I had that money, plus the pay raise that would be possible if my employer weren’t paying $20,000 for their portion of my insurance, I would have a huge savings account at the end of 10 years instead of being unable to pay for medical care.

So, I got shouted down on the Dispatch and here’s my response.

Health care was hardly an unfettered, dynamic source of free-market driven innovation before President Obama decided to turn it into a socialistic system. Really! Take a look at history.

 

Repeal of the ACA would make an impressive headline and give the GOP something to crow about, but the short and long-term political consequences of repeal for Republicans would have been worse than doing nothing. After all the promises the ACA made of a medical care nirvana, we would have returned to the less-than-stellar system that existed before the ACA came into effect. The folks who are being crushed by trying to pay for unaffordable health insurance would be relieved not to be going bankrupt, but the problems with US medical care that existed in 2010 will still exist.

The ACA was a foolish legislation that ignored economic reality and it is already failing because of that. Go back to my articles from Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlett. Government policies fail because they focus on a temporary benefit for a narrow slice of the population instead of focusing on the long-term consequences of the broad swath of the country. Obamacare gives some Americans a lot for a little, with a lot taken from others in return for very little. Of course, it’s failing.

What evidence do I offer that it is failing? The rapid exit of insurance companies from the ACA exchanges indicates that the system is failing. The 300% increase in premiums in Alaska is further evidence. The 200% increase in premiums in several other states is another sign. The huge deductibles most of us now have on our insurance policies should wake us up. Some of us are woke up, but more of us are still brainwashed to believe this is medical “insurance” when it isn’t.

 

None of the politicians or those who support them are discussing how there is no right to any good or service of any kind. That means there is no right to health care, which didn’t really exist as we know it before the 20th century. In the 19th century, people routinely died of injuries and illnesses. A broken hip was a death sentence. If you got cancer, you were going to die. A sizeable percentage of women died in childbirth. Death was the norm before the 20th century.

Legislation didn’t change that. Trial and error by medical providers experimenting on their patients led to healing advances such that a market was created. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, consumers began to seek medical care. Doctors were affordable. Churches operated hospitals. Fraternal organizations offered memberships to direct primary care clinics so that even laborers could afford medical care. Politicians then discovered medical care and decided it needed to be regulated.

It started small … with the American Medical Association complaining that doctors who were not part of the primary care clinic system were at a competitive disadvantage to those that were AND, convincing some politicians that doctors in general needed to be regulated by a wise, overseeing organization. Selflessly, the AMA offered itself as the wise director of this ultra important service. Of course, they didn’t have a crystal ball — in 1910, they didn’t foresee the coming of antibiotics let alone the MRI. That’s the problem with regulating any industry. Nobody can see the future. And, so as the future slowly presented itself, the government regulators kept looking back at 1910 medicine and trying to hold that standard, requiring innovation to climb a high regulatory wall before it can come to the marketplace. It takes 12 years of post-secondary education to create a doctor. It costs millions of dollars to bring new medications and treatments to the public and nowadays it’s very hard to test them on animals or people. But the real problem kicked in the Nixon administrations with the certificate of need requirement. That is the regulation that requires medical providers to show if a new facility, addition, or treatment is really needed. That can take years and add millions of dollars to any project or treatment. That boosts the cost of everything medical and often there is a requirement involved that new facilities don’t undercut existing facilities, which does nothing to reduce costs. The high costs and barriers to medical school reduces the number of doctors available to see patients, which means the existing ones don’t have to be concerned about competition, so can charge whatever they want.

All that existed before the ACA became the law of the land. Instead of fixing those problems, Obamacare exacerbated them. The absolute worst way to solve any problem, particularly one involving goods and services created in the marketplace, is to try and legislate it, but that’s exactly what we’ve done with medical care in this country. We had a good “system”, but we have gradually turned it into a nightmare with over-regulation.

I don’t believe that the ACA delayed the comeuppance of the medical care markets in the US. I think it accelerated it. Now the ACA is failing. Forget what the GOP failed to do … I know a half dozen people who have stopped paying for medical insurance. They came to a place where the premiums were higher than their mortgage payment and decided to break the law. Some of them  have mitigated their financial risk by buying a major medical (catastrophic) policy and piling up savings. Others are still scrambling to figure it out, but I trust they’ll work it out. I’m not worried about them. They know what they need to do and they’ll get there soon enough. I expect a lot of people will be going that route in the near-future. I wish I could join them, but I’m stuck in an employer-provided system.

So, the ACA is failing and that will be unfortunate for the people who bought into the “free to you” rhetoric. It’ll probably work out well for the middle class who didn’t qualify for subsidies and were being crushed by premiums. I’m concerned that govenment will insist they have to make it work even when it can’t work. I’m less concerned with the GOP in Congress, but I think President Trump — who has said in the past that he prefers univeral, single-payer medical insurance — will be tempted to slow down the crash with regulatory tinkering. I hope he doesn’t do that because as soon as it fails is when a real and productive conversation about medical care (not insurance) can start.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m going to use my writer’s imagination here.

The ACA fails and the medical insurance industry crash hard. People who have been prepaying $16,000 a year for a few thousand dollars of medical care will now be desperate to mitigate their fianncial risk in the event of a medical crisis. They will rush to the major medical/catastrophic insurance providers. They will take the additional $14,000 and either pile up savings or join a direct primary care network. They will now pay $3000 a year for medical insurance and medical care access which will allow them to pile up savings to pay out-of-pocket expenses or to invest that additional $10,000 a year in something that will actually provide productive value to their lives. Medical care will still be available. A lot of it will be expensive, but as people realize how much it costs to get an MRI, for example, they will begin to demand to know why and the costs will come down. What’s more, people will start taking care of themselves and taking responsibility for their own stupid behaviors. New insurance products will appear. If you’re an extreme athlete, you may be able to get an insurance policy to cover the potential consequences of your stupidity, for example. That would be an insurance policy that couch-potatoes don’t have to buy because they are not flinging themselves off cliffs with snowboards tied to their feet.

Because the American people have become such sheep, in need of the government to tell them what to do on the most basic things, I suspect things won’t work out this well, but I can hope.

Posted July 31, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in economics, Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

The Media’s Fake News about Obamacare | Alyene Senger   Leave a comment

Leave it to the media, which spent the latter half of 2016 highlighting how outrageously expensive Obamacare premiums were becoming, to suddenly shift gears in 2017 and stress the health law’s many “pluses.”

Such was the case in a recent interview with Heritage President Jim DeMint, in which CNN anchor Carol Costello suggested that lawmakers would need to preserve the so-called benefits of Obamacare if they repealed it.

In Costello’s words:

For example, this is according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Reserve in Dallas. Preventative care provided by Obamacare … saves money and health care costs overall. In 2015, the cost of health care services increased 0.5 percent. The typical price increase before Obamacare, it was around 3 to 4 percent. Obamacare will lower the deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years. So, there are pluses to Obamacare. So, how do you keep the pluses and get rid of the minuses?

DeMint shot back that those “facts” could fall “under the category of fake news.” This set Costello off to correct him that the numbers had come from the Congressional Budget Office.

Well, here’s what the Congressional Budget Office actually said about the cost of preventative care in 2009:

“Although different types of preventive care have different effects on spending, the evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall.”

For Americans paying premiums, this year’s price increases speak for themselves. According to the Obama administration, on the exchanges, the average increase this year in the benchmark plan premium is 25 percent across the 39 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform. Certainly this cannot be considered a “plus,” even by the law’s most zealous supporters.

It is true that the Congressional Budget Office did originally say that the law would reduce the deficit, but that analysis was always based on questionable assumptions and the double-counting of Medicare savings.

Indeed, in 2014, the Senate Budget Committee went back and used the Congressional Budget Office’s same scoring conventions and found that Obamacare would increase the deficit by $131 billion over the next decade.

Americans now have fewer insurer options, higher insurance deductibles, and higher premiums than prior to Obamacare.

Although the details of this year’s repeal bill are not yet known, the Congressional Budget Office’s latest score of an Obamacare repeal—based on the reconciliation bill passed by the last Congress, which repealed the law’s major spending provisions and tax increases—was projected to reduce federal deficits by roughly $516 billion over the 2016-2025 period, accounting for the economic benefits that would result.

But on CNN, Costello wasn’t finished. “So, all those 20 million people enrolled in Obamacare, they’re all going broke and it’s not working for any of them?” she asked. Actually, 20 million is a debatable enrollment figure, given that it is based on survey data that can be off by millions of people.

Using actual insurer enrollment data, which is only available through the end of 2015, there was an increase in coverage of only 14 million Americans from 2013 to 2015, with the vast majority (11.7 million) being pushed into Medicaid coverage.

Moreover, the actual net increase in private coverage during this period was only 2.3 million due to a decline in employment-based coverage, which offset the increase in the individual health insurance market.

Furthermore, Costello forgot about all of the people (over 10 million) who purchase coverage in the individual market and receive no Obamacare subsidy. These people have been getting hammered by premium increases caused by Obamacare every year and have to pay the full cost on their own.

Costello asked, “How do you take care of people much better than they’re taken care of now?”

Considering that many Americans are now facing fewer insurer options, higher insurance deductibles, and higher premiums than prior to Obamacare, the need for real cost relief is immense.

The first step in providing relief is to quickly repeal the law and then do the legislative work that will allow for patient-centered reforms.

Source: The Media’s Fake News about Obamacare | Alyene Senger

Stories from Obamacare’s Path of Destruction | Melissa Quinn   Leave a comment

For the past 15 years, Warren Jones has had the same health insurance plan with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

Image result for image of aca failureBut over the years, Jones, of Kansas City, Missouri, has watched the coverage offered in his policy “erode” over time.

First, the company got rid of the dental and vision coverage he had.

Then, Jones’ deductible increased – to $2,500 – for his plan alone.

But perhaps the most significant change for Jones, a veterinarian, has been the rising cost of his monthly premiums.

Jones’s premium will increase by 45.8 percent between 2016 and 2017.In 2014, the year Obamacare took effect, Jones paid $318 in monthly premiums. In 2015, the price went up to $394 per month, then to $491 for 2016.

For 2017, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas estimates that Jones will pay $716 each month for his premiums – a 45.8 percent increase – according to a letter the insurer sent him.

“You can’t keep doing this because people’s wages don’t increase by that amount,” Jones told The Daily Signal. “Nobody’s wages are increasing, so it’s taking a bigger chunk of the budget.”

“That’s the scariest part,” he continued. “It takes a bigger chunk of the budget, and there’s no relief in sight.”

Image result for image of aca failureLike millions of other Americans nationwide, Jones, 55, doesn’t buy his insurance on Obamacare’s state and federal exchanges.

And even if he did, he wouldn’t qualify for the subsidies that lessened the cost of health insurance for 7.3 million Americans who received the tax credits last year, according to regulatory filings.

Instead, the veterinarian falls into an overlooked subset of consumers who pay full price for their health insurance in a time of skyrocketing premiums and deductibles.

They don’t qualify for the tax credits offered under the health care law, and they don’t receive their coverage from employers, since many are self-employed.

“I have seen so many people, self-employed people, many started their own little business and make whatever they do, they have a small business, and they buy their individual policy or buy for their family, and what are their options?” said Beverly Gossage, a broker who has worked in the Kansas City area for 14 years.

“Do they no longer be self-employed? Maneuver taxes to make less than the income threshold to get subsidies?” Gossage continued. “They don’t want to do that, but they’re being pushed to do that. I get this question every day – ‘What am I supposed to do?’”

Gossage ran as a Republican for Kansas insurance commissioner in 2014.

Hooked

Image result for image of aca failureOver the past few months, insurers have been submitting rates to state regulators for the 2017 benefit year.

In most states, companies are requesting double-digit rate hikes for those selecting plans sold in the individual market both on and off the Obamacare exchanges.

Experts say insurers are playing catch-up after setting rates too low in the early years of the health care law and enrolling a sicker – and costlier – population than anticipated.

“A lot of insurers didn’t understand that the market was going to be skewed in terms of income and health status as severely as it was,” Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow in health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Generally, the pool was much worse than anybody expected because of things the administration did that made it worse.”

Insurers are playing catch-up after setting rates too low in the early years of the health care law.In response to questions about the growing cost of health insurance for consumers who buy plans sold in the individual market, the Obama administration has said that many Americans are shielded from premium hikes since they buy coverage on the exchanges and receive a subsidy from the government.

Many of the exchange enrollees who qualify for a subsidy may end up paying as little as $75 per month in premiums, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said earlier this month.

But that’s not the case for people like Jones and the 10 million others paying full price for their coverage.

“The traditional individual market, which consisted largely of middle-class people who are self-employed, those people are hooked onto this,” Haislmaier said. “It’s kind of a situation where you have an anchor that’s too big, and it’s pulling the boat under.”

Jones is considering selecting a new health insurance plan altogether, but because Missouri hasn’t yet approved rates for 2017, he’s unsure if he’ll even be able to find a cheaper alternative.

“The big thing is the unknown still,” Jones said. “But we know we’re getting inundated with increases in premiums.”

The Missouri man said he is familiar with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and switching to another carrier may leave him with even less coverage.

“You get a comfort level, and at least you know what you’re getting,” Jones said. “If I had to change insurance, you miss the changes that occur. You don’t know what you’re signing up for.”

‘50-50’

While Missouri residents like Jones are confronting a spike in rates, consumers across the state’s western border also are facing fewer insurers to choose from.

Among the insurers that will continue to sell coverage in Kansas, the number of plans they’re offering both on and off the Obamacare exchange is decreasing.

Many insurers, large and small, have decided to leave the exchanges after losing millions of dollars last year; they either withdrew from states altogether or decreased the number of policies offered.

According to an August study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, six in 10 counties may have a maximum of two insurers on the exchanges next year. Additionally, five states will have one insurer selling coverage on an exchange.

In Kansas, 17 carriers sold policies in the state before Obamacare’s implementation, Gossage said.

Before Obamacare, 17 carriers sold policies in Kansas. Now there are two.This year, the majority of consumers in Kansas will have only two insurers to choose from on the exchange, according to the Kansas Department of Insurance.

Those buying plans sold in the individual market off the exchange have five insurers, according to the state.

It’s a similar landscape in Missouri, where four insurance companies are selling coverage on the exchange, according to regulatory filings.

Off the exchange, consumers can choose from at least seven different companies.

Gossage said that over the last few years, she has seen insurers significantly lessen the number of policies they’re offering.

“What we did is we went from a very vibrant, competitive marketplace with extremely low rates and lots of different plans to pick from to over-overregulation with the type of plan you have and to mandates placed on insurance companies which led to high premiums and fewer carriers in the marketplace,” Gossage said.

While much of the focus has been on the declining number of choices for consumers selecting coverage on Obamacare’s exchanges, those with plans sold in the individual market off the exchanges are hurting, too.

Rochelle Bird, who is self-employed and lives in Overland Park, Kansas, has had a policy through Coventry, a subsidiary of Aetna, for two years.

In that time, her monthly premiums have risen from $335 to $487, and her deductible went from $1,200 to $6,200.

Late last month, Bird received a letter from Coventry notifying her that her policy will cease to exist at the end of the year.

“We may still offer coverage in your area, but most of the options available today will not be available for 2017,” the letter stated.

Bird said she wasn’t surprised to learn her policy was being canceled. Rather, she expected it.

“I know that this act has created chaos,” she said of Obamacare, formally the Affordable Care Act. “When I get a thing [in the mail] saying that my rate has changed, I know it’s 50-50 when I open it. It’s either a letter saying this is what you’re going to pay starting Jan. 1, or we’re no longer offering that plan anymore. It wasn’t a total shock to me.”

Bird said she has started researching other policies with different insurance companies, but because officials in Kansas only recently finalized rates, she hasn’t yet made a final decision on her coverage for next year.

She has, however, set expectations for the terms of her next plan.

“I am now faced with the fact that unless something changes, there will be one health care provider presumably with two different health plans that I will have a choice of [while] living in the state of Kansas,” Bird said. “That’s absurd. How is that helpful?”

“I’m expecting (a) I’ll pay more, (b) I’ll have less, and (c) I may or may not have the same doctors,” she said. “Those are always the moving parts.”

Backward

Bird herself didn’t purchase her plan on the Obamacare exchange, and she wouldn’t qualify for a subsidy if she did.

While going without insurance and paying the fine – $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income for 2016 – isn’t an option for her, it is for other Kansas and Missouri residents.

Jessica Huayaban of Olathe, Kansas, and her husband, Joel, each purchased plans in the individual market off the exchange in 2014.

Jessica, 36, bought a plan through Humana, and her husband, 35, through Coventry.

Some residents are choosing to forgo insurance and pay the fine rather than spend money buying insurance.The couple, who own a painting and remodeling company, previously were uninsured and saving money each month to pay for a costly knee surgery Joel needed.

Jessica and Joel had insurance before, but when the recession hit in 2009, coverage was too expensive so they decided to go without.

“It was way cheaper to cash pay,” she said of the years they needed medical services but didn’t have insurance.

In 2014, when Obamacare was implemented, the couple purchased their own coverage, but only because the law required it.

“I wasn’t getting [insurance] for even the coverage part,” Jessica told The Daily Signal. “I was getting it for the compliance.”

Over the past two years, the monthly premiums Jessica pays for her Humana plan have gone up minimally, but her plan has a high deductible.

Then, last month, the 36-year-old mother received a letter from her insurer notifying her they’re canceling her policy.

“This is just something that continues to happen, and I don’t have a choice in it,” Jessica said.

She said she isn’t sure whether she and her husband will purchase plans on Obamacare’s exchange when the open enrollment period opens in November.

And although she may qualify for a subsidy, the young mother fears she’ll be stuck with an expensive tax bill when she files with the IRS for 2017, since her income – she is self-employed – fluctuates drastically from month to month.

“All of it is so backward,” she said of the health insurance system.

Source: Stories from Obamacare’s Path of Destruction | Melissa Quinn

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

It's All about the Romance 💕💕💕

Not Very Deep Thoughts

Short Fiction and Other Things

Homestead on the Range

Abundant Living in Flyover Country

Ediciones Promonet

Libros e eBooks educativos y de ficción

the dying fish

Book info, ordering, about me etc. in upper right

STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

Never underestimate the power of a question

Healthy Ebooks

Healthy tips to live more & better!

Mikes Film Talk

Entertainment, Films, Books, Television

Radical Capitalist

Anti-State. Anti-Left. Pro-White.

PushUP24

Health, Fitness, and Relationships is a great way to start living again.

MG WELLS

✪ Enjoy The Journey!

ouryoungaddicts.wordpress.com/

Too many young people are becoming addicted to drugs/alcohol. OYA is a community of parents and professionals sharing experiences, resources and hopes on the spectrum of addiction, treatment and recovery.

%d bloggers like this: