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Obamacare Roundup: If You Like Your Plan, You Can't Keep It


People are starting to realize the ACA may not let them keep their current plans, and they aren’t happy. This fall, many insurers will be canceling current plans because they don’t meet the standards imposed by the ACA. According to the AP, some don’t offer all the “essential benefits” Obamacare requires; others don’t do enough to limit co-payments or out-of-pocket costs. If you’re okay with your plan, but it doesn’t meet the ACA’s standards, tough luck:

“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.

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  • BrianFrankie

    By the by, it is worth revisiting the post from a few days ago indicating that the health care exchanges in California were lowering premiums, and noting that this is actually not accurate. To be more specific, the California comparison was between premiums for individual heath care insurance, and small employer group health plans.

    A number of analysts have reviewed the California data and found they did not add up:

    This sort of misleading data produced by California would get people working for private companies thrown in jail for fraud…

  • Corlyss

    I’m a retired fed. I’m waiting for the word on my health care plan, to which I’ve belonged since I was 22 and my first day on the job. I have the same one the members of Congress have. Reports have been mixed on what’s happening with respect to us.

  • bpuharic

    Wonder why the rest of the entire world does what America can’t do…provide universal quality healthcare at reasonable cost. Almost as if our free market orientation is hampering a solution.


    • Fat_Man

      What free market? More than half of healthcare in the US is provided by the government. All of it is heavily regulated.

      • bpuharic

        The part that ISN’T provided by the govt…other countries have virtually 100% govt healthcare. Theirs is just as good, and cheaper than our ‘free market’ system

        • Fat_Man

          So we should just ban everything not provided by the government and the problem is solved.

          • bpuharic

            Unfortunately, being a scientist, I tend to rely on logic and evidence. The evidence is that the free market is a failure at providing cost effective universal healthcare

            If you disagree, prove me wrong.

          • Fat_Man

            I don’t know how you can make the claim that the free market cannot provide healthcare based on evidence. There is no free market healthcare system to test the proposition. To call the US system a free market system is to demonstrate a profound ignorance of what a free market is.

          • bpuharic

            The “No true Scotsman” fallacy, eh? And I suppose all those European health systems, which are GOVERNMENT run, and cheaper and more efficient and effective than ours are all free market systems, right?

          • Fat_Man


      • DavidT

        The U.S. government does provide a good deal of healthcare, in the form of military physicians for example, but I believe you are referring to the fact that the U.S. government PAYS for more than half of healthcare in the U.S. The difference is important, since government paid care robs insurance companies of the opportunity to profit from the sale of medical insurance.

        David Taylor, MD

        • bpuharic

          Why should insurance companies profit? What benefit to society does this confer? Few advanced countries have a model similar to ours with its bloated inefficiencies, profits and spotty coverage. The most expensive healthcare in the world delivered to fewer people is not a measure of success

          • DavidT

            Sorry you were deaf to sarcasm…

  • Fat_Man

    “Rate Shock: In California, Obamacare To Increase Individual Health Insurance Premiums By 64-146%” by Avik Roy

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