health plans

Facts are stubborn things, Mr. Reid

Every individual who has told the press that they have had a bad experience with ObamaCare is either lying or are too stupid to know how to use the Internet. This is the latest line by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), anyway. Perhaps it’s these kinds of accusations that gave one Colorado woman the presence of mind to record her phone call with the “Connect for Health Colorado” navigator due to her own problems with the website.

Rebecca Ryan of Fort Collins has a preexisting condition but until recently, she was covered by a different government healthcare plan called “Cover Colorado.” The reason for changing her plan? As it turns Cover Colorado did not meet the requirements of ObamaCare and some 14,000 plans were canceled as a result. Rebecca liked her healthcare plan but wasn’t able to keep it. Sen. Reid wants Americans to believe Rebecca is lying about this “horror story” but this is only the beginning of Rebecca’s experience so far with ObamaCare.

As it turned out, Rebecca could save $15 a month with the new plan with one little caveat: she would lose her doctor whom she has received care from for the last 9 years. If, however; Rebecca wants to keep seeing this doctor she can do so if she is willing to pay an additional $140 a month:

Rebecca: So, the lowest monthly premium is, um, way higher than I was paying before and I thought this was supposed to be lower.

Off-exchange health plans see 39% to 56% premium increase from 2013

The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) released a study earlier this week finding that Americans looking to purchase health insurance on the state and federal Obamacare exchanges would find higher premiums and less choice than plans available last year on private exchanges.

The findings in the study aren’t surprising given that Obamacare mandates a number of changes to health insurance, including minimum benefits and actuarial requirements, all of which result increase the cost of coverage. Though the NCPPR offered some insight into the higher costs consumers face, it didn’t offer much in real dollars being spent on health insurance coverage compared to 2013 plans.

eHealthInsurance.com (eHealth), however, has released data that does provide some insight into how much consumers are paying for off-exchange health plans compared to a year ago. Despite a multitude of promises that Obamacare would make health coverage more affordable, the eHealth study proves otherwise.

“As of February 24, 2014, the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month,” the nation’s first and largest private exchange noted in a recent press release, ”a 39% increase from the average individual premium for pre-Obamacare coverage.”

LOLbamacare: Administration extends health plan fix for two years

Nearly an hour after the House of Representatives passed a measure to ostensibly delay enforcement of the individual mandate, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it would extend the “administrative fix” for canceled health plans through 2016 as well as extended the open enrollment period for 2015:

The Obama administration announced Wednesday it will let people with health insurance plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act standard to keep them into 2017 if their states permit.

The administration also extended Obamacare’s open enrollment for next year by one month—it now will run from Nov. 15, 2014, until Feb. 15, 2015—and gave insurers more financial help in dealing with costs from new ACA enrollees.

The announced rule changes also simplified the paperwork that larger employers will have to file when the rule obliging them to offer affordable health insurance to workers begins in 2015.
[…]
Under the new rule, people who maintain those plans, and who renew them as late as Oct. 1, 2016, will be able to keep them until as late as 2017. The administration said the rule will apply to anyone currently in a non-compliant small-group plan, as well as an individual plan, and said it would be up to individual states to allow the extension, and to what extent.

President Obama thinks he already saved your employer plan

At this point, everyone generally accepts that the President’s purported one-year delay in forcing you to lose your individual health insurance policy (and, more importantly, corralling you into the Obamacare exchange) was political grandstanding amounting to almost no practical benefit.  At last check, 19 states had rejected the so-called “fix.”  For those that have adopted it, congratulations on delaying the inevitable.

The Obama administration has recently tried to reframe the narrative of this fiasco by focusing on the fact that only 5% of Americans purchase an individual health insurance policy.  After all, why concern ourselves over the health plan of 14 or 15 million Americans when their sacrifices will benefit the much grander scope of universal utopia?

Obama could let you keep your plan, but he doesn’t want to

 If I like your plan, you can keep it

Last Thursday morning, President Obama issued his latest proclamation in an attempt to save face on his farcical promise.  Of course, the “relief” came far too late and with far too many restrictions to have any practical, real-world effect.

It’s become instinctive at this point to assume that every policy decision that comes from the Obama administration is a blatant violation of separation of powers.  After all, this is the administration that unilaterally delayed enforcement of Obamacare’s employer mandate in direct violation of the statutory requirements.  Many prominent commentators have immediately jumped back on this bandwagon again in this latest Obamacare edict.

But here’s the real legal low-down: President Obama and his executive agencies (HHS/DOL/IRS) have almost unlimited discretion in determining what is considered a “grandfathered health plan.”

Obama’s half-hearted apology to Americans losing health plans

Barack Obama

Are you one of the millions of Americans losing your health plan, even if President Obama said you could keep it under his healthcare law? Well, he’s sorry that you believed him when he said it.

“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” President Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd during an interview on Thursday.

“We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them, and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this,” he added.

Bad news for Mark Begich: Obamacare premiums are going to rise by an astronomical rate in Alaska

The last couple weeks haven’t been kind for Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). He’s facing backlash over a campaign ad that falsely accused his Republican challenger, former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan, of setting a man free from prison who is now accused of killing two people. The Alaska Democrat was forced to pull the ad from the air due to complaints from the victims’ family.

Once seen as the most likely vulnerable Senate Democrat to survive a Republican challenger, Begich now trails Sullivan by 6 points, according to a poll released over the weekend, the first that has come out since the dust up over the ad. Further complicating matters for Begich is a new report that Obamacare premiums in Alaska are set to rise by a significant margin:

Alaskans buying health insurance through their state exchange can expect a price spike of more than 30 percent on average, news that could hurt Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who voted for ObamaCare.

Surprise! Obamacare “enrollees” aren’t making premium payments

Many of the purported Obamacare enrollees aren’t making their insurance premium payments. While the Obama administration touted the 8 million sign ups when the first open enrollment period, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reported in May that 20 percent of those consumers hadn’t paid their premiums as of mid-May.

But one major health insurers participating in the Obamacare exchanges has indicated that the number of customers not paying their premiums is a little higher, according to a report from Investor’s Business Daily:

The nation’s third-largest health insurer had 720,000 people sign up for exchange coverage as of May 20, a spokesman confirmed to IBD. At the end of June, it had fewer than 600,000 paying customers. Aetna expects that to fall to “just over 500,000” by the end of the year.

That would leave Aetna’s paid enrollment down as much as 30% from that May sign-up tally.

“I think we will see some attrition … We’re already seeing it. And we expect that to continue through the end of the year,” CEO Mark Bertolini said in a July 29 conference call.
[…]
[A]s one of ObamaCare’s largest players, participating in exchanges in 16 states plus D.C., Aetna’s experience provides a pretty good window into what is happening across the country, and there are other indications that enrollment has turned down.

Obamacare train wreck update: Enrollees who automatically re-enroll could be left with an unwelcome surprise next year

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in June that it would allow consumers to automatically re-enroll in their Obamacare plan for 2015, saying at the time that it would simplify the process for those who were happy with their government-mandated coverage.

Well, as it turns out, that HHS may be setting up millions of Obamacare consumers for a big headache next year:

Automatic renewal was supposed to make the next open-enrollment under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul smooth for consumers.

But unless the administration changes its 2015 approach, “they’re setting people up for large and avoidable premium increases,” said researcher Caroline Pearson, who follows the health law for the market analysis firm Avalere Health.

It could be a new twist on an old public relations headache for the White House: You keep the health plan you like but get billed way more.

Part of this deals with the changes to benchmark plans. As it is right now, the second-lowest cost “silver plan” is the benchmark to which subsidies are tied. Avalere Health recently found that the benchmark silver plan will lose that status in 2015 in six of the nine states it analyzed. The problem is the benchmark plan will change in many areas of the country, meaning that customers will have to pay more to keep their plans.

Vulnerable Democratic senator dismisses complaints of lost health insurance coverage under Obamacare as “anecdotal”

President Barack Obama made it pretty clear when he was trying to sell his healthcare reform proposal that Americans would be able to keep their coverage: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

But that has proved to be untrue for many Americans. PolitiFact handed President Obama the dishonor of “Lie of the Year” for 2013, noting that “the promise was impossible to keep” due to the narrowly written “grandfathered plan” regulations. And by the end of the year, nearly 5 million Americans received notices in the mail telling them that their health plans had been canceled because of Obamacare.

Caught in the crossfire were vulnerable Democratic senators who repeated President Obama’s misleading — to put it nicely — talking points. Among them was Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who promised on at least two occasions that Arkansans would be able to keep their coverage under Obamacare.

But when presented with the concerns of his constituents over the weekend during an appearance on local television, Pryor pushed back. “Let’s look at those stories and get inside of those stories,” he said. “A lot of this is anecdotal.”


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