Americans are once again having to face the grim reality of “Hope and Change” following the latest open enrollment coverage period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more popularly known as “Obamacare,” which began on November 1. Much to the shock of millions, many of whom falsely believed that the new “law” would make health insurance cheaper as its name suggests, rates are continuing to go up, up, and away – and in many cases, consumers now have even fewer health plans from which to choose.
According to reports, premiums are spiking all across the country, in many cases to the tune of double digits. The Obama administration recently announced that the average rate hike will end up being about 25 percent, though in some areas like Tennessee, that figure is turning out to be more like 50 percent. The result is that many health insurers are having to pull out of many of the worst affected markets, which means enrollees now have much worse coverage at a significantly higher cost.
Eric Jans, an insurance broker from Nashville, told CBS News that most of his clients had been covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield until they recently decided to pull out of the Nashville market. Rates became so high that the insurer apparently had no choice but to flee, which means Jans and his family no longer have health insurance, nor do most of his 300 clients that were covered by the insurer, a devastating blow to this subset of the working American populace.
“As of January 1, unless we jump on to something else … we’re looking at $750 a month this year to $1,100 next year,” Jans is quoted as saying.
Top priority: Repeal and Replace
Blue Cross Blue Shield has actually left three major markets in Tennessee, which means that 73 of the state’s 95 counties now have only one insurer – not exactly a competitive landscape that benefits consumers. And similar situations are happening in other states where major insurers like Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealth are fleeing because they can’t provide services within the confines of the law and how it’s affecting rates.
Like many of Obamacare’s detractors have been saying all along, one of the major causes of this fiasco is that younger, healthier people simply aren’t signing up for health plans. The costs are too high, the coverage is too little – and getting progressively worse – and it just doesn’t make sense for people who are already struggling to make ends meet to take on such an enormous burden.
The worst hit states besides Tennessee, according to Townhall, include Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Arizona, all of which are seeing rate hikes of at least 50 percent. Illinois, Montana, and West Virginia are also seeing increases of anywhere between 40 to 49 percent, and right behind them are states like Texas, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Georgia, all of which will see rate hikes upwards of 39 percent.
One of President-elect Donald Trump’s first priorities, and a major heralded tenet of his campaign, will be to repeal, or at least seriously amend, Obamacare and replace it with an open insurance marketplace and individual Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which will drive down costs and make insurance more affordable and available to all Americans. And with the announcement of these massive rate hikes, this plan is sure to receive top priority status.
“The reason that so many major insurers are pulling out of Obamacare is that the disproportionately sicker risk pools are quite expensive to cover, resulting in huge financial losses to the providers,” reports Townhall.
“To offset those losses, enormous rate increases are being approved, making coverage even less affordable for the relatively healthy consumers trying to keep their heads above water — including millions who receive taxpayer subsidies through the law.”