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ACA Agonistes
Colorado Chaos Shows ACA Troubles

Under the ACA, the Colorado insurance market is in chaotic flux. The NYT reports that the premium for one standard midlevel silver ACA plan rose this year by 36 percent in one part of Colorado, while in another part a premium for the same plan dropped by almost 40 percent. Apparently many insurers set their prices low to attract customers, but it’s no longer clear if the low rates will be sustainable in the long-run:

Because buyers are so sensitive to price, the markets may experience cycles in which insurers alternately offer low premiums to attract customers and sharply raise them in later years to cover costs, experts said.

The volatility has created more uncertainty among people who must renew their plans, switch to new ones or buy insurance for the first time under the law.

Judy Greenfield, 55, from Denver, was notified in November by the Colorado marketplace that she would have to pay about $125 more a month next year for the same plan. She worked with a broker to figure out her options, and switched insurers to find a less expensive plan. “To have to go through this every year, selecting a new plan, is just a pain,” she said.

One takeaway from this article is that’s far too early to tell how well the ACA is doing at keeping premiums down. It will take a while before the markets settle out and we see what the actual average premiums are, and it’s not really possible to assess how well that part of the ACA is working until then. In the meantime, workers are increasingly feeling the bite of rising costs. Uncertainty for many, rising costs for some: not a pretty picture for U.S. health over all.

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  • Boritz

    “She worked with a broker to figure out her options, and switched insurers to find a less expensive plan.”

    Customers who switched to Geico saved on average $406.32

    • FriendlyGoat

      When you call, do you get “The Gecko”, or Maxwell the deep-voiced pig who once went “whee, whee, whee” all the way home?

  • FriendlyGoat

    If people are unwilling to go through the “pain” of selecting a new plan, then any hope that citizens can force competition by voting with their feet goes out the window.

    Bear in mind ACA assures the minimum standards for plans—–so you KNOW what you’re buying—- and assures that anyone will be accepted during annual open enrollment. Without customers who are willing to actually shop, then no one can expect “competition” to function.

    At 55, this woman is so clueless about how she could be completely SHUT OUT of Republican plans, it’s pitiful.

    • Rick Caird

      Hey, goat boy. You seem unaware of the narrow networks in ObamaCare. Selecting a new plan may require new doctors, new labs, and new hospitals, different deductibles, different copays, not to mention different drug plans. This is not some simple thing. Notice, too, she didn’t go the She went to a broker,

      This is not a situation of competition. This is a situation of being forced to make wholesale changes because of ObamaCare. You are so clueless about ObamaCare and ObamaCare policies that your comments are worthless except as a example of total misunderstanding.

    • juandos

      I don’t your point about the ‘republican style” plans…

      Why should anyone in government or in a particular political party have anything at all to do with one’s health insurance?

      If a 55 year old person can’t or won’t deal with this asinine ObamaCare scam what business is it of yours?

    • Boritz

      “so you KNOW what you’re buying”

      It would be more on point to say that people are experiencing the reality of what they were sold.

  • bittman

    If the Democrats wanted to make sure that the 8-13 million uninsured poor people got healthcare, they would have passed a bill covering those people. But, they wanted to take over the entire USA healthcare system and give the government the power to control everyone’s healthcare, so they insisted on passing the ACA or Obamacare at a time when the average of ALL polls taken in the fall of 2009 (when the Democrats wrote the ACA) indicated that 87% of Americans were satisfied with their healthcare. Thank goodness that the Jonathan Gruber videos surfaced in late 2014 and exposed America to many of the lies the Democrats had told to get the Obamacare passed. Of course, Obama’s claim that “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. And, your costs will go down $2,500″ had already won the ‘Lie of the Year” in 2013.

  • Jonathan_Silber

    More likely the market for health insurance will never “settle out” but instead remain in the current upheaval of rising prices in return for decreasing benefits, poorer care, longer wait times, and ever-more-restricted access to doctors.

  • Jeff H

    This was clearly part of the plan–as Glenn Reynolds is wont to say, “it’s a feature, not a bug”. The idea is to so disrupt the private insurance market, and cause so much public anger toward private insurers, that the citizenry will be more willing to accept single-payer, AKA “complete government control of the entire healthcare industry.”

  • rusty_armor

    Though I am a bit embarrassed by my unrestrained schadenfreude, I fled that California wannabe state as soon as I retired. I wish the fine citizens of Colorado even more misery as back payment for their ignorance.

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