“You’re going to be forcibly upgraded,” said Bob Laszewski, a health care industry consultant. “It’s like showing up at the airline counter and being told, ‘You have no choice, $300 please. You’re getting a first-class ticket, why are you complaining?'”
In another piece of bad news for Obamacare, Wonkblog takes us to New Hampshire, where only one insurance company has signed up for the state exchange. In Vermont and Rhode Island, that number is only two. The theory behind the exchanges was that multi-plan exchanges would lead to competition and therefore lower prices. The significant number of insurers entering the exchange in California (13) was one of the reasons premium estimates came in lower than expected in that state (though that news wasn’t as impressive as it first appeared). If only one or two companies are joining plans in these New England states, it’s difficult to see how this competition would work.There are reasons specific to New England to explain why it would have fewer insurers in its exchanges. Additionally, the federal government is empowered to set up plans in every state if insurance companies don’t do it on their own. But this development still has local health care advocates deeply worried:
Health law supporters in New Hampshire expressed disappointment with the lack of competition in the marketplace. That includes Scott Baetz, a small-business owner who says he has voted more Democratic since the Affordable Care Act passed. […]“There has been a lot of optimism that some of the benefits of the health-care law would mean broader choice and reduced costs,” Baetz says. “Now, it seems like those options may not be available to us.”
The silver lining here is that companies with older or sicker employees are expect to see their premiums drop as the law takes effect. That’s nice. But even here, their gain is a loss for the young, since it’s mostly youth participation in the insurance market that will subsidize the costs of older or sicker members. Naturally, premiums for the young are expected to rise.