Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obamacare website won’t reveal plan costs until after midterm elections

Last year, they revealed all the plans on October 1st. What could cause them to delay the prices this year for over a month?

The Washington Times explains.

Excerpt:

Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased — after the Nov. 4 election.

Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that’s no coincidence. Last year’s inaugural enrollment period on the health-care exchange began Oct. 1.

“This is more than just a glitch,” said Tim Phillips, president of free-market Americans for Prosperity, in a Friday statement. “The administration’s decision to withhold the costs of this law until after Election Day is just more proof that Obamacare is a bad deal for Americans.”

[...]The Iowa insurance commissioner approved last week premium increases for three insurance carriers: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CoOpportunity Health and Coventry Health. Two of those insurers will implement double-digit hikes ranging from 11.9 to 19 percent, the Des Moines Register reports.

[...]The issue is also resonating in the Louisiana Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking re-election against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. Documents filed with the Louisiana Department of Insurance show some insurers are anticipating double-digit rate hikes, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Mr. Cassidy, who’s a doctor, issued a statement Thursday calling the higher premiums “another hurdle for families and businesses already struggling under the demands of Obamacare.”

“Premiums have gone up by 53 percent for the average Louisiana policyholder and many of these policies will again see double-digit increases,” Mr. Cassidy said. “It’s unfair to Louisianans who have to balance their budgets and their businesses.”

I can understand why the Democrats would want to keep the exchange rates private before the election. They are counting on hoodwinking the American public again – vote first, find out what’s in the bill later.

 

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

Minnesota’s largest and cheapest Obamacare insurer drops out of exchange

The Daily Caller reports.

Excerpt:

The largest insurer with the lowest premium rates on Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange is dropping out because the government health-exchange is unsustainable, the company announced Tuesday.

PreferredOne Health Insurance told MNsure, the state-run exchange, Tuesday morning that it would not continue to offer its popular insurance plans on the marketplace in 2015.

[...]“Our MNsure individual product membership is only a small percentage of the entire PreferredOne enrollment but is taking a significant amount of our resources to support administratively,” the company said in a statement. “We feel continuing on MNsure was not sustainable and believe this is an important step to best serve all PreferredOne members.”

PreferredOne was Minnesota’s largest exchange insurer with 59 percent of individual MNsure sign-ups, according to KSTP. Another four insurance companies — Blue Cross Blue Shield, HealthPartners, Medica and UCare — will continue to offer plans on the exchange next year.

This leaves Minnesota Obamacare customers in a tricky situation. PreferredOne had significantly lower rates than any other insurer on the exchange. When these plans disappear, customers will see a significant rate hike if they choose to continue on the Obamacare exchange, independent of yearly rate hikes.

Minnesota is scheduled to announce premium rates for 2015 Obamacare plans in October and signs point to looming price hikes that will hit Minnesotans doubly hard.

The administration costs are too high.

I noticed that Minnesota has a Senate election this year, and that comedian Al Franken is up for re-election, and he is leading by 9 points. Maybe Minnesota will learn something from their rate hikes and stop voting in a clown who voted for Obamacare. One can hope that money will cause them to learn their lesson.

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Woman gets $36,000 medical bill because hospital not covered by Obamacare gold plan

From KOMO News.

Excerpt:

Alex Szablya just wants the best health care she can get for her children. So she got a gold plan, the highest level possible with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.  She picked a plan with Lifewise, an affiliate of Premera Blue Cross.

In early March, her 16-year old daughter had a medical emergency. Alex drove her to the nearest hospital, which was Seattle Children’s. Alex says doctors there felt her daughter’s situation was so dire she needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately. She was there for nine days.

Then came news that her stay, which involved specialized mental health care for adolescents, was going to cost $36,000 and her insurance would only pay for half because Seattle Children’s was considered on out-of-network facility.

She thought by going for the highest premium PPO gold level coverage offered the state exchange, a majority of the bill would have been covered.

“I’m paying a premium for that and I’m willing to pay that premium, but I expect to get services that are not so limited by the insurance companies,” she said.

She’s not alone. Seattle Children’s says its treated more than 125 patients who are not covered by policies offered by the exchange. In October, the hospital filed suit against the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, claiming the state office failed to ensure adequate network coverage in plans from its biggest providers like Premera Blue Cross.

“Because Seattle Children’s was not included in the major plans, children coming for care here were going to be denied care and in fact that’s what we are seeing,” said Dr. Sandy Melzer, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Seattle Children’s.

Alex says Lifewise offered similar alternative care at other hospitals but it required traveling a three hour drive to Yakima or a two hour trip and ferry ride to Bremerton.  Children’s is a five minute car ride from her north Seattle home.

“This limited network is preventing me to get the specialty services that my children and I need in this community,” Aex said.  She’s now facing an $18,000 hospital bill she wasn’t prepared for.

Here’s a sketch from Chris Rock (whom I can’t stand) explaining the Obamacare Gold Plan:

Well, I don’t see why this is a problem, because the Obamacare Gold Plan covers all the birth control pills that she could possibly need, and at any hospital. It’s Sandra Fluke approved! Why isn’t this greedy reactionary Seattle woman thanking Obama for saving her from all those worthless private health care plans that existed before Obamacare? After all, the only reason that Obama lied to us about lowering premiums, keeping our doctors and our health plans is because those old private insurance plans were garbage compared to the Robitussin Gold Plan. 

Please can we elect someone who understands health care policy in 2016?

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Man signs up for Obamacare and goes into debt $50,000 paying for treatment

Story from Washington Free Beacon.

Excerpt:

Cancer patient Tony Angran has quite the fighting spirit: he is battling Stage 3 cancer and trying desperately to find funds to pay for his new Obamacare plan.

Angran… was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer of the esophagus had insurance, but due to a previous heart condition, the insurance did not cover the treatments he needed for his cancer. He was notified of his insurance plan’s limitations just moments before receiving life-saving chemotherapy.

“One of the workers came and said, ‘I need to talk to you,’ and so I went and talked to her and she says, ‘We found out that your insurance does not include chemo,’” Angran told WHO-IA.

Over the past two months, the Angrans have depleted their savings account and accrued $50,000 in debt to pay for his treatments.

They signed up for Obamacare in hopes of finding better, less expensive coverage, but have been dismayed with the price of the health insurance offered by the exchange. It will cost them more than $800 a month.

The insurance plan they enrolled in will not begin for another two weeks, leaving them essentially hanging by a thread.

Tony Angran has since lost the ability to swallow, now eating through a feeding tube, and he is no longer able to take his necessary heart medicine.

A Pastor, Angran has dedicated his life to the services others and has shown compassion through his ministry. He says that Obamacare, which promises to alleviate the financial burden associated with health insurance and aims to provide quality care for Americans, lacks compassion.

“I’m sitting here with Stage 3 Esophageal Cancer, and they’re taking me to the finance person and saying, ‘How are you going to pay for this?’” he said.

The Angrans have until the start of April to pay $7000- their copay under their new Obamacare health insurance plan.

Meanwhile, Democrat Senate majority leader Harry Reid says that all of these horror stories are untrue.

Filed under: News, , , , ,

Obamacare enrollment of young adults about 50 percent below target

If you remember, Obamacare works by forcing young people (especially young men) to pay for care they don’t need and won’t use. This lowers the costs of health care for younger women and especially for older, sicker people. The target is 2.7 million enrollments of people from age 18-34.  But are young people signing up for this plan in numbers like that?

Investors Business Daily has the answer.

Excerpt:

Data through five months of the open-enrollment period show that slightly fewer than 10% of eligible 18- to 34-year-olds have signed up for coverage. Among young men, roughly 1 in 12 has signed up.

The Kaiser Family Foundation puts the ObamaCare-eligible population at 28.6 million, with 40%, or about 11.4 million, in the 18-to-34 age group.

Compared to the size of the potential market, the first-year target of 7 million enrollees, including about 2.8 million young adults, was relatively modest.

Yet it’s now clear that the initial target is well out of reach. The Avalere Health consultancy projected that sign-ups — paid and unpaid — will end March at around 5.4 million.

Through February, not quite 1.1 million young adults had selected an exchange plan. Among this group, the male-female breakdown was about 45% vs. 55%. That matters because women at child-rearing age are more likely to run up big medical bills.

In February, 268,000 18- to 34-year-olds signed up, so a decent upsurge in March could lift the total close to 1.4 million. But that’s before winnowing out the people who don’t pay.

Anecdotal reports from a handful of states and large insurers now point to a paid rate of about 85%, possibly lower.

While that could improve before the March 31 deadline, there’s reason to suspect that the paid percentage might lag among young adults, since they are showing more reticence about signing up in the first place.

Once the unpaid group is subtracted, it appears likely that young-adult enrollees will fall at least 50% below the first-year target The White House had initially set that target at 2.7 million.

[...]The age mix is important because the exchanges charge younger people higher premiums relative to pre-ObamaCare individual market insurance, so that older people can be charged less without negating insurer profits.

If young adults make up just 25% of the ObamaCare exchange population, it would wipe out much, but not all, of the 3% to 4% profit margin insurers typically allow for in setting premiums, Kaiser Family Foundation experts figure.

Yet that calculation assumes the health status of those who do sign up is about average. In general, an insured pool comprising a smaller share of the eligible group raises concern that the covered group will be costlier than average.

So they are expecting 2.7 million, but even with a late surge of enrollments, they are only going to get 1.4 million young people. That’s bad for Democrats, but I am happy that young men are not signing up for this law. They have nothing to gain from it. Maybe this whole mess will be worth it if young men understand that big government rides on the backs of young men. They are expected to pay the taxes, but without getting any of the benefits. Sex changes? IVF? Maternity? Well woman exam? Birth control pills? We don’t use that. We don’t mind paying for that for our wives, but we don’t want to pay for it for complete strangers.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

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