Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Holiday Health Care Exchange Rush is Upon Us, and so are the Premium Increases.

Sign-up for the Affordable Care Act's exchanges starts this Saturday, for an unbelievably short period of time...one month. It's like none of us have anything to do during this double holiday season; planning trips to see relatives on Thanksgiving and Christmas, gifts, paying our property taxes, and now forking over your first health care premium for January 1st. For myself, I have home and car insurance later that month too, not to mention a much higher heating bill to cry over. Nice.

It should be no secret to anyone by now that the Walker administration has done nothing to rein in insurer premiums on the Wisconsin exchange like most other states. The commissioner of insurance has not challenged one rate increase in excess of 10% yet, a duty they have under the ACA. Other states have done just that, and are offering much lower premiums as a result. And that's the rub.

WKOW's Greg Neumann reports that premiums have pretty much stayed the same in Wisconsin, which would be really good news, if that were true. It's not true for me.

My monthly premium went from $268.52 to $370.81. Ouch, a 39% increase from last year. According to the ACA, state's are supposed to question and/or turn down any requested increases that exceed 10%.

Of course, Republicans are hoping that millions of people covered by the Affordable Care Act are dropped, when and if the Supreme Court decides that a short line in the law only gives tax credits to state exchanges, not the federal stand-ins. Why they would think that is anybodies guess, but partisan legislating from the bench is part of the new wave of conservative justice.

If that happens, then success stories like the one below will become a thing of the past again, and once again the U.S. will have the best health care in the world...that no one can afford.
58 year-old Sue Savoy is self-employed and, according her daughter Lisa Haselow, never thought much about the private health insurance plans she purchased each year. 

"And never really used it, she didn't really go to the doctor," said Haselow.  "And she ended up being hospitalized just last month and realized how woefully under-insured she really was."

Haselow says a back injury left her mom wishing she had paid more attention to exactly what her plan covered.  "She walked in there with an insurance card, not realizing that she would get stung with what would probably end up being in the $40,000 to $50,000 range after insurance," said Haselow.


Anonymous said...

Does Wisconsin run their own exchange or is it a Federally run one? If the Feds are running it then are they not also responsible for looking into the rate increases? Seems kind of hard to blame Wisconsin for the rates if the Feds are the ones running the show.

And you can blame the Democrats for specifically wording the law to only include the premium assistance in the state exchanges and not the federal one. That was done on purpose to force states to run their own systems even though over half of the states decided not to. There is no way to construe the ruling as legislating from the bench unless they uphold the bogus IRS ruling on what is written in the law.

Democurmudgeon said...

The state's have the responsibility to negotiate price, as I mentioned in the piece. The government does not run the ACA, but does provide the marketplace to compete.

The argument the tax credits were an incentive to get the states to do their own exchange sounds good, but not practical. The rest of the act refers to the tax credits for both state and federal exchanges. Remember, the fed had to come into the states, set up the different exchange zones, get insurers on board and relied on the Insurance Commissioner to control costs. You don't like controlling costs? Not a good Republican.

Plus, the Supreme Court is not all powerful, and is supposed to defer to laws written by the congress for their intent, and not deciding on the precise wording to pick apart for political reasons what should or should not be legal.

It would be an interesting ploy if indeed the court overturned the law based on the precise misstatement. Every law would end up there. I get the feeling you like wallowing in this self created mess to prove your point. Insecure much?

Anonymous said...

This is not a mistake in the writing of the law it is how the law was intended to be written. There is a video of one of the main architects of the bill explicitly explaining this part on the subsidies that they would only be available to states that set up and ran their own exchanges.


Now that 34 states decided not to participate in running the exchanges the Democrats are trying to lie and say they intended for the subsidies to also be provided to the federal exchange. This is flat out false.

Democurmudgeon said...

Jonathan Gruber is on video saying the state exchanges are the only ones that can provide the tax credits.

But as almost everyone has pointed out, Gruber didn't write the ACA, elected official did. As you stated, he consulted. This wasn't like something prepackaged from ALEC.

I have another post on this coming. Thanks for the link, but it's irrelevant. I already have it, and it's sensational, but Gruber wasn't their in the senate or house putting this together.