The next wave of Obamacare problems is on the way

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obamacare-disaster

The worst for Obamacare was supposed to be over. It’s not. Things are getting worse by the day. Obamacare is less popular than ever and the more people learn about Obamacare the less they like it.

It’s downhill from here.

The next wave of Obamacare cancellations is on the way. Tens of millions could be affected:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans will soon receive cancellation letters affecting their 2015 health care plans — and that number may quickly rise into the millions. This wave of cancellations will fall into two categories. The first group hit will be in the individual market, the same group that suffered through at least 6.3 million cancellation letters last year. They will almost certainly be joined by millions of people in the small-employer market, which has 40 million plans and will be under Obamacare’s control starting next year.

That’s right: President Obama’s now-infamous promise, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” — Politifact’s 2013 “Lie of the Year” — is still being broken, potentially worse than before.

Most of the individual market cancellations will be for plans that were supposed to be canceled last year, when Obamacare first went into effect. After the fallout from last year’s fiasco became too politically toxic, President Obama unilaterally changed the law so that some non-compliant policies could continue for at least another year. That 12-month period is now up.

Virginia will be hit the hardest — up to 250,000 Virginians will receive a cancellation notice by the end of November. Another 30,000 New Mexicans will have their plans discontinued in 2015. In Kentucky, another 14,000 individuals will receive notices in the coming weeks. Elsewhere, Colorado, Alaska, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Maine are expecting thousands of cancellations — after almost half a million notices went out last year. Other states, some of which either don’t count or don’t publicly release details on discontinued plans, will likely add to the tally.

But that’s still only the tip of the cancellation iceberg. A far greater threat looms for the 40 million Americans who receive health insurance through small business employers, also known as small-group plans.

Premiums are going up. Bronze Plans are expected to see a 14% increase next year:

An examination of next year’s rates in the biggest city in 15 states and Washington, D.C., reveals that the cost of the cheapest bronze plan will jump an average of 13.9% for 40-year-old non-smokers earning 225% of the poverty level ($26,260).

In Seattle, the cost of the cheapest bronze plan, after subsidies, will soar 64%, from $60 to $98 per month, for individuals at this income level. Some other cities seeing notable gains include Providence (up 38%, from $72 to $99 per month); Los Angeles (up 27%, from $88 to $111); Las Vegas (up 22%, from $100 to $122); and New York (up 18%, from $97 to $114).

The surge in the cost of the cheapest subsidized bronze policy could negatively impact enrollment in 2015. This year, 39% of bronze plan choosers picked the lowest-price option. One might expect that share to rise in 2015, when millions of people who passed on ObamaCare exchanges this year are expected to enroll.

The Obama regime has routinely claimed that the ACA is bending the cost curve down. The Fiscal Times has called that “Obama’s Biggest lie” noting that the poor economy was responsible.

Obamacare may yet bend the cost curve down, not because it saves any money but because of the massive deductibles. It appears Obamacare’s deductibles will become a de facto death panel:

Patricia Wanderlich got insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, and with good reason: She suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, spending weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, and has a second, smaller aneurysm that needs monitoring.

But her new plan has a $6,000 annual deductible, meaning that Ms. Wanderlich, who works part time at a landscaping company outside Chicago, has to pay for most of her medical services up to that amount. She is skipping this year’s brain scan and hoping for the best.

“To spend thousands of dollars just making sure it hasn’t grown?” said Ms. Wanderlich, 61. “I don’t have that money.”

High deductible plans cost less in premiums but are accompanied by a dark side:

While high-deductible plans cover most of the costs of severe illnesses and lengthy hospital stays, protecting against catastrophic debt, those plans may compel people to forgo routine care that could prevent bigger, longer-term health issues, according to experts and research.

“They will cause some people to not get care they should get,” Katherine Hempstead, who directs research on health insurance coverage at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said of high-deductible marketplace plans. “Unfortunately, the people who are attracted to the lower premiums tend to be the ones who are going to have the most trouble coming up with all the cost-sharing if in fact they want to use their health insurance.”

Deductibles for the most popular health plans sold through the new marketplaces are higher than those commonly found in employer-sponsored health plans, according to Margaret A. Nowak, the research director of Breakaway Policy Strategies, a health care consulting company. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average deductible for individual coverage in employer-sponsored plans was $1,217 this year.

It wasn’t very long ago the Times editorial board was chest puffing about Obamacare:

Republicans of course haven’t embraced the Affordable Care Act. Now that it’s actually gone into effect, though, they seem to be slowly coming around the reality that it’s not at all the disaster they assumed it would be, and therefore may not draw voters to the polls.

chest puff

Krugman taunts:

For the less fortunate, however, the Affordable Care Act has already made a big positive difference. The usual suspects will keep crying failure, but the truth is that health reform is — gasp! — working.

Krugman might yet be shown to once again be suffering from premature bloviation. Whatever is working is working because the largest portion of Obamacare has yet to be implemented yet and the clouds are gathering.

DrJohn has been a health care professional for more than 30 years. In addition to clinical practice he has done extensive research and has published widely with over 70 original articles and abstracts in the peer-reviewed literature. DrJohn is well known in his field and has lectured on every continent except for Antarctica. He has been married to the same wonderful lady for over 30 years and has three kids- two sons, both of whom are attorneys and one daughter on her way into the field of education. DrJohn was brought up with the concept that one can do well if one is prepared to work hard but nothing in life is guaranteed. Except for liberals being foolish.

7 Responses to “The next wave of Obamacare problems is on the way”

  1. 1

    Nanny G

    Actually, ObamaCare is extending this year’s premiums a few weeks longer just so the masses of the public who are getting sticker-shock or cancelled won’t learn it until AFTER the election!

    I had read about that poor 61-year old woman with the aneurysm that needs monitoring.
    If you can imagine her as a minor with cash-poor parents trying to decide whether to have her aneurysm monitored or not, you would probably see 1. the nanny gov’t take the child away from its parents and let a gov’t paid state appointed guardian have her while we all paid her bills.
    Or, perhaps 2. the gov’t would reconsider her family’s deductible and make it possible for her to be tested.
    But, because she’s an adult, she still has a right to make an informed decision about her health that takes into account her own finances.
    Why can’t a non-seriously ill woman make those same types of decisions about her own birth control…..also at her own deductible expense?

  2. 2

    bike mike

    I have a person I know in New Hampshire have his insurance cancelled last year. He had a family plan that cost around $625.00 per month with a $2500.00 per year deducible. The best he can do under the Obama plan is about $1100.00 per month with a $12000.00 per year deductible. So he has over $25000.00 out of pocket per year before anything is covered. To top is off, about half the hospitals in New Hampshire will not be available under the plans offered. I guess that now it is passed, we have found out what is inside it.

  3. 3

    Bill

    All the left cares about is to be able to say X number of people got insurance; it really doesn’t matter that the vast majority can’t afford to use that which the government forced them to purchase.

  4. 4

    John

    Dr j isn’t it true that every year millions of people receive cancellation letters? That this years. ” churn ” is about the same as any ordinary year. ?

  5. 5

    another+vet

    As one of the 6 million plus who have already lost their health insurance thanks to this abomination, I say to all the new ones who are going to lose theirs- welcome! And may all of you be those who voted for “hope and change”!

  6. 7

    Common+Sense

    @John: What a load of spin!! Those that lost their health insurance where told by 0-blama you can keep your doctor and or health insurance “period”! This was a lie he had to admit to even though people like you and Greggie will deny it!!

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