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Pipe dream? Obamacare
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nw30



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 1919
Location: The eye of the universe, Cen. Cal. coast

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is getting ridiculous, and the source bashers here can have fun with this one,,,, maybe, maybe not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out
Many middle-class Californians with individual health plans are surprised they need policies that cover more — and cost more.

By Chad Terhune
October 26, 2013, 7:42 p.m.



Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don't like what they see.

These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.

Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama's signature legislation.

"This is when the actual sticker shock comes into play for people," said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. "There are winners and losers under the Affordable Care Act."

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don't qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

"It doesn't seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else," said Harris, who is three months pregnant. "This increase is simply not affordable."

On balance, many Americans will benefit from the healthcare expansion. They are guaranteed coverage regardless of their medical history. And lower-income families will gain access to comprehensive coverage at little or no cost.

The federal government picks up much of the tab through an expansion of Medicaid and subsidies to people earning up to four times the federal poverty level. That's up to $46,000 for an individual or $94,000 for a family of four.

But middle-income consumers face an estimated 30% rate increase, on average, in California due to several factors tied to the healthcare law.

Some may elect to go without coverage if they feel prices are too high. Penalties for opting out are very small initially. Defections could cause rates to skyrocket if a diverse mix of people don't sign up for health insurance.

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

"She said, 'I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'" Kehaly said.

Nearly 2 million Californians have individual insurance, and several hundred thousand of them are losing their health plans in a matter of weeks.

Blue Shield of California sent termination letters to 119,000 customers last month whose plans don't meet the new federal requirements. About two-thirds of those people will experience a rate increase from switching to a new health plan, according to the company.

HMO giant Kaiser Permanente is canceling coverage for about half of its individual customers, or 160,000 people, and offering to automatically enroll them in the most comparable health plan available.

The 16 million Californians who get health insurance through their employers aren't affected. Neither are individuals who have "grandfathered" policies bought before March 2010, when the healthcare law was enacted. It's estimated that about half of policyholders in the individual market have those older plans.

Obamacare: News and analysis

All these cancellations were prompted by a requirement from Covered California, the state's new insurance exchange. The state didn't want to give insurance companies the opportunity to hold on to the healthiest patients for up to a year, keeping them out of the larger risk pool that will influence future rates.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the state and insurers agreed that clearing the decks by Jan. 1 was best for consumers in the long run despite the initial disruption. Lee has heard the complaints — even from his sister-in-law, who recently groused about her 50% rate increase.

"People could have kept their cheaper, bad coverage, and those people wouldn't have been part of the common risk pool," Lee said. "We are better off all being in this together. We are transforming the individual market and making it better."

Lee said consumers need to consider all their options. They don't have to stick with their current company, and higher premiums are only part of the cost equation. Lee said some of these rate hikes will be partially offset by smaller deductibles and lower limits on out-of-pocket medical expenses in the new plans.

Still, many are frustrated at being forced to give up the plans they have now. They frequently cite assurances given by Obama that Americans could hold on to their health insurance despite the massive overhaul.

"All we've been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it," said Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in Westchester. "I'm infuriated because I was lied to."

Supporters of the healthcare law say Obama was referring to people who are insured through their employers or through government programs such as Medicare. Still, they acknowledge the confusion and anger from individual policyholders who are being forced to change.

Cavallaro received her cancellation notice from Anthem Blue Cross this month. The company said a comparable Bronze plan would cost her 65% more, or $484 a month. She doubts she'll qualify for much in premium subsidies, if any. Regardless, she resents losing the ability to pick and choose the benefits she wants to pay for.

"I just won't have health insurance because I can't pay this increase," she said.

Most Americans are required to have health coverage starting next year or pay a fine of $95 per adult or 1% of their income, whichever is greater. The fines increase over time.

A number of factors are driving up rates. In a report this year, consultants hired by the state said the influx of sicker patients as a result of guaranteed coverage was the biggest single reason for higher premiums. Bob Cosway, a principal and consulting actuary at Milliman Inc. in San Diego, estimated that the average individual premium in 2014 will rise 27% because of that difference alone.

Individual policies must also cover a higher percentage of overall medical costs and include 10 "essential health benefits," such as prescription drugs and mental health services. The aim is to fill gaps in coverage and provide consumers more peace of mind. But those expanded benefits have to be paid for with higher premiums.

The federal law also adjusts how rates are set by age, a change that gives older consumers a break and shifts more costs to younger people. Rates by age can vary by only 3 to 1 starting next year as opposed to 6 to 1 in some cases now in California. People in their 20s just starting their careers may earn so little they qualify for subsidies. But that might not be the case for consumers who are slightly older and earning more.

"It has the effect of benefiting people in their 50s and 60s and shifting costs to people in their 20s and 30s," said Patrick Johnston, president of the California Assn. of Health Plans. "Benefits are being increased for all, but it's not government subsidies for all. Some will pay more."

Rates would be going up regardless of changes from the healthcare expansion. The average individual premium will climb 9% next year because of rising healthcare costs and increases in medical provider reimbursement, according to Milliman's estimates.

Some consumer groups have questioned whether insurers are inflating their rates under the guise of the healthcare law changes.

"We believe the prices are higher than they should be," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica advocacy group. "This is giving a bad name to the Affordable Care Act."

State regulators checked the insurance companies' math and underlying cost projections for next year, but they don't have the authority to deny increases. Under federal rules, insurers can be ordered to issue rebates if they don't spend a minimum amount of every premium dollar on customers' medical care.

"The rates aren't going up because insurance companies are pocketing more money," Lee said. "That is what it takes to pay the claims and deliver the healthcare."

Javier Lopez, 38 and a self-employed aerospace engineer in Huntington Beach, pays about $750 a month for an Anthem Blue Cross plan for his family of four. His premiums may rise nearly 20% next year for a new policy because his current plan is being phased out.

Lopez says he's willing to absorb that one-year jump if it means the government can rein in future rate hikes.

"I'm hoping with this reform," Lopez said, "we won't see big increases year after year."

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-health-sticker-shock-20131027,0,4888906,full.story#axzz2iy5Q7e2v
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What was it that BHO promised? Oh yeah, something about 'you like your health plan, you can keep it, you like your doctor, you can keep him, we're not talking about taking anything away from you'.

Haunting words that will keep on haunting, even long after Halloween.

_________________
I don't drink the 'cool' aid, I drink tequila, it's more honest.
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boggsman1



Joined: 24 Jun 2002
Posts: 3753
Location: at a computer

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RR it's all in good fun, I actually enjoy your stoke . Where do you sail in Canada? My favorite people in the gorge are all the sailors who come down from BC every weekend in the summer. It was a great weekend. I took off Friday for some nice south swell in bolinas, got up at 430 on Saturday to hit downieville , then went abbing this morning( just 1/2 hour from Petaluma ) . I love fall.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14632

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

feuser wrote:
Funny, your killfile seems broken...

I still have the same choices for insurance. Except the premium increases are down from previous years. When it comes to the choice of not paying for insurance: fine - that choice is there, too, except I, the taxpayer, don't have to pick up the entire tab anymore, if one of these gamblers goes to the ER.

And since you do cash your federal check every month, it doesn't matter where exactly the money for your fleet of gorge boards or your health insurance comes from. I wish you all the best, but quit whining and biting the hand that feeds you - and fed you so very well in the past.

Now that iW has promised to kick repeat personal attack dogs off the forum, I thought I'd give them a chance to behave. If iW upholds its new rules, which I have reason to believe I helped instigate, I may reduce or eliminate the killfile.

I meant you had the same access to exactly the same insurance sources (and pay sources) you are so angry I have access to. As for, "the taxpayers, don't have to pick up the entire tab anymore, if one of these gamblers goes to the ER" ... yes, they do. Ocare didn't change that. And unless you make so little that you are among the >80% of new enrollees joining Medicaid or at least get a big subsidy from the taxpayer, your health care costs will rise dramatically as both your premiums and your deductibles go way up.

And as for the federal hand that feeds me ... you chose your employer, I chose mine after my initial draft obligation ended. You chose a capitalist career, I chose to take an oath to defend my county and its Constitution against all enemies from any source. If you're that angry about the compensation your country provides for people who take that oath, your options include:
1. Demand your country stop providing incentives for an all-volunteer military. Realize, of course, that the alternative is the draft ... and enjoy your stint in uniform.
2. Keep criticizing those who subject their families to hardships you rejected and risk or even give their lives so you can get a free ride off their sacrifices.
3. Hope Al Qaeda is just joking about killing, enslaving, or converting you and your offspring.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14632

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nw30 wrote:
What was it that BHO promised? Oh yeah, something about 'you like your health plan, you can keep it, you like your doctor, you can keep him, we're not talking about taking anything away from you. PERIOD!'


At which fatal thrust Boggs emulated Jay Carney:
boggsman1 wrote:
RR it's all in good fun, I actually enjoy your stoke . Where do you sail in Canada?
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feuser



Joined: 29 Oct 2002
Posts: 1398

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isobars wrote:
feuser wrote:
Funny, your killfile seems broken...

I still have the same choices for insurance. Except the premium increases are down from previous years. When it comes to the choice of not paying for insurance: fine - that choice is there, too, except I, the taxpayer, don't have to pick up the entire tab anymore, if one of these gamblers goes to the ER.

And since you do cash your federal check every month, it doesn't matter where exactly the money for your fleet of gorge boards or your health insurance comes from. I wish you all the best, but quit whining and biting the hand that feeds you - and fed you so very well in the past.

Now that iW has promised to kick repeat personal attack dogs off the forum, I thought I'd give them a chance to behave. If iW upholds its new rules, which I have reason to believe I helped instigate, I may reduce or eliminate the killfile.

I meant you had the same access to exactly the same insurance sources (and pay sources) you are so angry I have access to. As for, "the taxpayers, don't have to pick up the entire tab anymore, if one of these gamblers goes to the ER" ... yes, they do. Ocare didn't change that. And unless you make so little that you are among the >80% of new enrollees joining Medicaid or at least get a big subsidy from the taxpayer, your health care costs will rise dramatically as both your premiums and your deductibles go way up.

And as for the federal hand that feeds me ... you chose your employer, I chose mine after my initial draft obligation ended. You chose a capitalist career, I chose to take an oath to defend my county and its Constitution against all enemies from any source. If you're that angry about the compensation your country provides for people who take that oath, your options include:
1. Demand your country stop providing incentives for an all-volunteer military. Realize, of course, that the alternative is the draft ... and enjoy your stint in uniform.
2. Keep criticizing those who subject their families to hardships you rejected and risk or even give their lives so you can get a free ride off their sacrifices.
3. Hope Al Qaeda is just joking about killing, enslaving, or converting you and your offspring.


MY Behavior? I don't remember calling you names "scum" etc. as you have. I believe your killfile saved me from many more insults, so don't do away with it just yet.

Regarding the rest of that retort - I am not angry at all. I only expose your double standard. That is a bit much coming from you, after being on the gainful side of the biggest Government jobs program in history.

And yes, let's end the all-volunteer military. I did my time in uniform (although converting the obligatory armed service into a stint at the red cross at a considerable penalty). It's a pretty healthy thing for past and present military personnel to view themselves as citizens first and foremost, in place of their allegiances to that institution.

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florian - ny22

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boggsman1



Joined: 24 Jun 2002
Posts: 3753
Location: at a computer

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISO
Can you walk me through the above quoting of my little blurb? Good to see I'm off the kill file , my life is complete.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4344

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2013/10/26/despite-glitches-obamacare-profit-windfall-to-insurers-well-underway/

Can someone tell me how adding hundreds of bureaucrats and billions in government overhead, plus making the insurance companies even richer is going to give me better health care and cost me less money?
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2768

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:

Can someone tell me how adding hundreds of bureaucrats and billions in government overhead, plus making the insurance companies even richer is going to give me better health care and cost me less money?

It won't make you healthier, but it will make others wealthier.

And it puts people back on the payroll.

Isn't that what conservatives claim they really want?
.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14632

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

boggsman1 wrote:
ISO
Can you walk me through the above quoting of my little blurb?

It's on this page.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14632

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

feuser wrote:
MY Behavior? I don't remember calling you names "scum" etc. as you have.

... you, after being on the gainful side of the biggest Government jobs program in history.

And yes, let's end the all-volunteer military. It's a pretty healthy thing for past and present military personnel to view themselves as citizens first and foremost, in place of their allegiances to that institution.

<siiiiiigh>
Show us where I’ve ever called you “scum”.
I’ve called only three people “scum”, because they verbally spit on soldiers (and by implication and/or words firemen, police, and other life-risking first responders). That's despicable and depraved considering the sacrifices they have made to provide others' safety and bliss. This is the first time I’ve seen you do that.
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