Thursday, July 28, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: The Incredible Shrinking Selection

“Humana will stop marketing Obamacare exchange plans in several states next year and will exit many off-exchange individual markets as well, the company announced today.

The decision means the company will only offer individual plans in 156 counties in 11 states, down from 1,351 counties across 19 states this year. It had sold plans on Affordable Care Act exchanges in 15 states this year.” - Humana pulling out of many Obamacare markets, Politico, 07/21/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/humana-obamacare-markets-225963

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Want to Lose Some Serious Money? Be an ACA Exchange Co-Op or Insurer

“Since Obamacare’s rollout in the fall of 2013, 16 co-ops that launched with money from the federal government have collapsed.

The co-ops, or consumer operated and oriented plans, were started under the Affordable Care Act as a way to boost competition among insurers and expand the number of health insurance companies available to consumers living in rural areas.

Now, just seven co-ops—Wisconsin’s Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative; Maryland’s Evergreen Health Cooperative; Maine Community Health Options; Massachusetts’ Minuteman Health; Montana Health Cooperative; New Mexico Health Connections; and Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey—remain.”

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded $2.4 billion to 23 co-ops that were eventually created. However, the majority of the co-ops struggled to turn a profit, resulting in the collapse of 16 of the original 23 that received $1.5 billion in startup and solvency loans.

Now, with just seven co-ops remaining, regulatory filings show that many ended 2015 in the red.”

“Since Obamacare’s implementation, it’s not only co-ops that have struggled to make money.

Oscar, a startup insurance company serving New York and New Jersey that launched in 2012, lost $105 million in 2015.

Additionally, UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley said the company expects to lose more than $1 billion from its exchange business—$650 million in 2016 and $475 million in 2015.

The company, which is the nation’s largest insurer, decided to pull out of at least 26 of the 34 exchanges it offered coverage on last year after warning the marketplaces were a risky investment.

And Health Care Service Corporation, which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in five states, reported losses totaling $65.9 million in 2015. The company lost $281.9 million in 2014.” - 16 Obamacare Co-Ops Collapsed. Here’s How the Rest Are Faring, The Daily Signal, 07/26/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://dailysignal.com/2016/07/26/16-obamacare-co-ops-collapsed-heres-how-the-rest-are-faring/?utm_source=TDS_Email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningBell&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWlRCbU5qTXpNalJsTnpZMSIsInQiOiJodlpIdHFmVUJWeE9FZXJpR2g3XC9qN3lGWExTT3BGazduUjFydUg1QWREZHphakJLcjg5T3dWa3hXeTdDUGVrZThwZllUbjAxQXlGT25FYjBZTEhZSk5CV0RadXdtSmduME9Cd1RqMjdhdTA9In0%3D


 


 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Oops for the Fifteenth Time! Yet Another Co-Op Implodes

"Fifteen Obamacare co-ops have now failed. Oregon announced Friday that its second taxpayer funded Obamacare co-op would close its doors, leaving 40,000 to find new insurance. The co-op, known as “Oregon’s Health CO-OP now joins a list of 14 other Obamacare co-ops that have collapsed including Health Republic Insurance of Oregon which closed last year. Failed co-ops have now cost taxpayers more than $1.5 billion in funds that may never be recovered.

Co-ops were created as not-for-profit alternatives to traditional insurance companies created under Obamacare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) financed co-ops with startup and solvency loans, totaling more than $2.4 billion in taxpayer dollars. Co-ops were envisioned as innovative providers that could provide member-driven care without needing to worry about recording a profit. In practice, they have failed to become sustainable with many collapsing amid the failure of Obamacare exchanges.

Since September, 12 Obamacare co-ops have collapsed, with only 8 of the original 23 co-ops remaining. Oregon’s Health co-op faced losses of $18.4 million last year and owed the federal government close to $1 million. Co-op across the country have struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges, losing millions despite receiving multiple government subsidies.

The mass failure of co-ops should not be surprising. Larger insurance companies have also struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges with many announcing they will stop providing coverage.

The web of government subsidies have also failed to provide insurances the funds they were promised. One of these programs, Risk corridors recouped just 12.6 percent of the funds that insurers requested. The program, which was created to encourage insurers to take on higher risk individuals by transferring funds from insurers who made money to those that posted losses, was required to be budget neutral under law leaving Obamacare insurers with a significant shortfall.

Obamacare co-ops have also been plagued by inept management and unrealistic business models.

As a report by the Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock found, 17 of the 21 co-ops paid out gratuitous salaries to executives reaching as high as $587,000, which is more than four times as much as the $135,000 median health insurance executive salary. Worse still, many of these executives had little to no experience in the insurance industry and some of these excessive salaries were disguised in financial documents as “management fees”. Last year, 21 of 23 co-ops posted losses." - Oregon Obamacare Co-op Becomes 15th to Collapse, Americans for Tax Reform, 07/11/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

https://www.atr.org/oregon-obamacare-co-op-becomes-15th-collapse

Friday, July 8, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: The Incredible Shrinking ‘Competitive’ Co-Ops

‘Another Obamacare co-op, Connecticut’s HealthyCT, is closing its doors, and at least two most could follow suit as the nonprofit insurers decide whether they will be able to remain on firm financial footing.

The nine remaining co-ops of the original 23 co-ops must make payments totaling at least $130 million through Obamacare’s risk adjustment program, which could damage their viability.

The Connecticut Insurance Department announced Tuesday that HealthyCT was placed under state supervision, leaving approximately 40,000 Connecticut residents to find new health insurance during the next open enrollment period.

HealthyCT is the 14th co-op created under Obamacare to fail since the health care law’s exchanges opened in 2013.

The co-ops, or consumer operated and oriented plans, were created to inject competition and choice in areas where little existed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded the 23 co-ops $2.4 billion in startup and solvency loans to help the new nonprofit insurance companies get off the ground.

However, more than half of the co-ops have failed to succeed in the health insurance market, despite the $1.5 billion in loans the 14 collapsed co-ops collectively received.

HealthyCT alone received nearly $128 million in loans, which included an infusion of $48.4 million in solvency loans awarded in September 2014.

Katharine Wade, state insurance commissioner, said HealthyCT’s “hazardous financial condition” led her to close the co-op’s doors. The nonprofit insurer’s financial issues were compounded after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced last week the payments insurers must make under Obamacare’s risk adjustment program.

The Department of Health and Human Services asked HealthyCT to pay $13.4 million into the risk adjustment program, which redistributes money from insurers with healthy customers to insurers with sicker, more costly consumers.

“Unfortunately HealthyCT’s financial health is unstable, having been seriously jeopardized by a federal requirement issued June 30, 2016, that it pay $13.4 million to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as part of the Affordable Care Act’s risk adjustment program,” Wade said in a statement Tuesday. “As a result, it became evident that this risk adjustment mandate would put the company under significant financial strain.”’- Obamacare’s 14th Co-Op Is Closing Its Doors, and at Least 2 More Could Close Soon, dailysignal.com, 07/06/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://dailysignal.com/2016/07/06/obamacares-14th-co-op-is-closing-its-doors-and-at-least-2-more-could-close-soon/

Thursday, June 23, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: When the Price Isn’t The Price Because The Price Is a Political Price

“Amid reports that consumers could be hit with Obamacare health insurance premium hikes of 10 percent or more, the administration is providing state insurance regulators with $22 million to encourage them to beef up their reviews of requests for rate hikes from the health insurance industry.

The decision announced on Wednesday to provide states with additional resources to evaluate and challenge rate increases, in addition to undertaking other activities related to Obamacare, appears to be as much a political maneuver as another attempt to bend the health care cost curve.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Obamacare insurance markets in roughly a third of major metropolitan areas projects that premiums on the most popular silver plans will increase by an average of 10 percent to 11 percent next year, twice the rate of increase approved last fall. And that doesn’t include almost certain increases in co-payments or other out-of-pocket costs to consumers.

Obama administration officials reportedly are wary of the political impact of a rash of double-digit premium increases so close to the election, despite warnings from major insurance providers they will need higher revenues in order to remain in Obamacare. Millions of Americans are likely to get their first notice of Obamacare premium rate increases for 2017 shortly before the November election.” - White House Is Spending Millions to Battle Obamacare Rate Hikes, thefiscaltimes.com, 06/17/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/06/17/White-House-Spending-Millions-Battle-Obamacare-Rate-Hikes


 

 


 


Friday, June 10, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: If Markets Fail, Governments Fail too

“One of the worst developments has been the failure of many of the online exchanges that were supposed to be a one-stop, one-size-fits-all marketplace where insurances policies could be purchased cheaply and easily. In a lot of places that hasn't turned out to be the case. In Massachusetts, for example, the administration of Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick took a functioning website created as part of Romneycare, spent a lot of money on so-called improvements and promptly broke it.

By far the worst example is Oregon, where the website for the state exchange was declared completely dysfunctional, but only after more than $300 million – according to best estimates – was spent trying to figure out how to make it work.

The politicians back in Oregon, at least one of whom has lost his job in part over the "Cover Oregon" scandal, have tried all along to blame the companies and contractors they hired to build the website. The official term of art for that is "buck passing." The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has been investigating what went wrong and, in a report just issued, has concluded – no surprise – it was the politicians playing politics who are to blame.

Here, in brief, is what the committee found:

State law clearly established Cover Oregon as an independent entity. The governor and his political advisers' involvement in Cover Oregon was inconsistent with Oregon law.

Campaign funds were used to assist the governor in his official capacity while handling Cover Oregon.
Cover Oregon became closely tied with all campaign activities, from polling to meetings.

The governor's political operatives – none had technological experience – micromanaged many of the decisions that needed to be made regarding Cover Oregon.
Junking Cover Oregon and moving to HealthCare.gov was viewed as a way to "let the steam out of so much of the attacks."

The Cover Oregon board was told the cost of moving to HealthCare.gov was $4-6 million. A slide showing moving the Medicaid system would cost $36 million was deleted.


After the governor complained about the "free independent expenditure campaign" his political opponent was receiving because of Cover Oregon, his political advisers drafted letters asking the attorney general to sue. The letter was sent days later.

In sum, the committee says, "Cover Oregon failed for two main reasons: The state acted as their own system integrator (like HeathCare.gov), and the state tried to revamp its entire health care system, not just build an exchange."
 

All in all it's a pretty damning indictment. As a result, in what may be the first allegations of criminal misconduct related to Obamacare, the committee wants United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch to launch a criminal probe and for Oregon's attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor with a mandate to uncover what happened with Cover Oregon.” - 'Cover Oregon' Cover-Up, US News and World Report, 06/08/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-08/cover-oregon-health-care-disaster-showcases-havoc-wrought-by-obamacare


 

 


 


Thursday, June 2, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Oh No, Way to Go, Ohio…….

“Ohio's Obamacare plan has closed up shop, making 13 out of 23 consumer-oriented-and-operated plans to shutter.

InHealth Mutual in Ohio will shut down and will force more than 20,000 people to choose new plans. They will have 60 days to find a new plan. Ohio's insurance regulator said Thursday that it had to take control of the co-op because of major losses.

The Ohio co-op is the first one this year to close. Last year, 12 of the 23 taxpayer-funded plans shut down due to mounting financial losses and a lack of federal funding.

Including InHealth, the federal government has spent $1.3 billion to set up the co-ops, which were created to offer more competition on Obamacare's exchanges.” - Ohio Obamacare co-op collapses, Washington Examiner, 05/26/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/ohio-obamacare-co-op-collapses/article/2592429