Daily Archives: April 29, 2013

Obamacare off the rails

EDITORIAL: Obamacare off the rails – Washington Times.

Obamacare’s shortcomings run far deeper than anything that can be fixed by a slick marketing campaign and fraudulent television commercials. Mrs. Sebelius‘ department expects to spend $4.4 billion by the end of the year on grants to help states set up insurance exchanges. That’s double last year’s estimate; we can expect the final tally to climb yet higher. The state of California alone has spent more than $900 million to establish an Obamacare health care exchange. By contrast, privately funded Esurance set up a nationwide exchange similar to what the government has ordered with an initial outlay of $5.5 million in venture-fund investment in 1999 and a second round of $34 million a few months later.

Government just isn’t very good at health care. Obamacare devotees treated the law like a health care version of “the Field of Dreams,” believing that if they built it, people would come. They haven’t. In addition to spending billions to build it, states are forced to spend tax dollars to cajole prospective customers to sign up. California is paying 20,000 part-time “enrollers” a bounty for every person they push into the system.

Colorado is a state that has “bought in” to the Obamacare “Field of Dreams”. They have even gotten a head start by implementing gender neutral pricing and mandatory maternity coverage. The initial effect of these mandates has been higher insurance premiums leading, most likely, to more uninsured. Undoubtedly, the state has told themselves that when Obamacare kicks in and subsidies become available everyone will sign up. One thing is for sure, the sick will sign up (adverse selection) and those that qualify will enroll into Medicaid, or be enrolled when they show up at the hospital. The rest of us that are affected, primarily individual policyholder or potential individual policy holders, we’ll have to wait and see.


20-Somethings: Obamacare wants YOU

And so do the boomers: To cut health bills, boomers need 20-somethings – Marketwatch.

Baby boomers with individual health plans stand to benefit big-time when public insurance exchanges launch on January 1. The centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, these state-level marketplaces will improve boomers’ access to health coverage and may even bring down underlying premiums for those who don’t qualify for a government subsidy, experts say.

But boomers may not see those cost benefits unless they get some help from a different demographic: Their kids and their friends’ kids. If enough young people stay out of the market, then the risk pool in each group will be older and, presumably, sicker. And that will eventually drive up costs for everyone who remains. “The big factor is: How many young, healthy adults can we get to buy insurance?” said Carrie McLean, senior manager of customer service at the national call center of eHealthInsurance.com, an online insurance marketplace. (emphasis added)

Thank you, thank you younger generation…

What’s more, new limits on the extra amount insurers can charge older people over younger ones will shift costs from boomers to millennials, experts predict. Today, premium differences for the same coverage between a 21-year-old male and a 64-year-old male can easily reach 5-to-1, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that studies health issues. (The difference is a little less pronounced for women.) The new law will limit these age bands, as they’re called, to 3-to-1. The result? Individual policy premiums are expected to stay stable, or even fall, for older consumers buying comparable coverage on the state-level marketplaces, even for those who make too much to qualify for government subsidies.

Fortunately, it’s not a total screw job for the young…

Nearly 10 million of the 11.2 million uninsured 20-somethings will qualify for either Medicaid or some level of premium subsidy, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Young Invincibles, a youth advocacy group. The subsidies apply to anyone with gross incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level—in 2013, $45,960 for an individual, $62,040 for a family or two, $78,120 for a family of three, or $94,200 for a family of four (higher levels apply in Alaska and Hawaii).

You can view a Federal Poverty Level table here. Although not detailed, the lower you place on the table, the higher subsidy you will be eligible for.

Once again, I want to encourage ALL young people to sign up so that the baby boomer generation can use your money. THANK YOU!

Edited: Changed link from Yahoo to source article at Marketwatch.