For months, market specialists have been saying Obamacare premium prices were going to rise substantially in 2017 — perhaps by an average of 10 or 11 percent. But it’s worse than that. The Obama administration confirmed Monday that premiums will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states with public marketplaces.
However, 25 percent is an average — and there is a big difference from state to state.
Areas of Arizona, for example, will have to deal with a 145-percent increase. An average 40-year-old person will have to pay $507 a month for a silver plan, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. That same plan will increase 71 percent in Birmingham, Alabama, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Most of the 10 million consumers in the Obamacare markets won’t see those price increases, however, because they will receive government subsidies to shield them from the full cost. The White House somehow released a very upbeat statement late Monday stating how health care consumers can start “window shopping” on HealthCare.gov for next year’s plans. It also said more than 70 percent of consumers can find marketplace plans for less than $70 a month.
But the increased subsidies will do little to bridge the widening chasm of our national debt — and customers who don’t qualify for subsidies will get socked with much higher prices.
“I’m not sure why anyone is surprised by these rate increases,” said Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist in the Washington, D.C., area, and CEO of Foxhall Cardiology PC. “Why would they go down? Insurers, who are the best gamblers in the world, have done the actuarial analysis and they’ve repeatedly said the ACA isn’t working for them — they’re struggling to be profitable. The only thing I’m surprised about is that they [the administration] let the rate increases out before the election.”
The rate hikes will likely have far more people weighing the risks versus the rewards of signing up for a health care plan, Oskoui added. The penalty is far less than what the average person might pay in premiums and the difference has an increasing number of people taking their chances they won’t get sick.
In addition to rising rates, Americans are also getting their first real look at the lack of choices.
“As many Americans face the possibility of only one choice for health insurance in 2017 — which of course isn’t actually a choice — we see how wrong it was for President Obama to promise Americans, ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,'” said Twila Brase, R.N., co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, a national patient-centered health freedom organization in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“For many Americans, it’s not only not possible to keep their current health plan, they can’t even choose their next one. And for many Americans, this is not the first time they could not keep their health plan. This may be the second or third or fourth time,” Brase told LifeZette.
Free markets lead to choices, competition, lower costs, and satisfied customers, Brase added, while government-run health care leads to shortages, high costs, fewer choices, and fear — fear of delays and denials and rationing. “Limiting choice is just one way to ration. Obamacare must be repealed, and state governors and legislatures should reclaim state authority over health care before Americans are left with only one choice: federally controlled government health care for all.”
Sign-up season starts Nov. 1, about a week before the presidential elections. Hillary Clinton, who has largely avoided the topic the past several months, has promised to expand the Affordable Care Act. She appears in favor of a single-payer or nationalized health care system. Donald Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare.