Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: When ‘Marketplace’ Means Few Choices Or No Choice

“More bad news for customers of the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare marketplaces: According to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, almost a third of counties will have just one insurer participating in the exchanges by 2017, significantly more than the 7% of counties who had one option this year. That equates to 19% of all enrollees facing just one insurance option.”

“The analysis also says there could be just two insurance options in an additional 31% of counties, meaning about 60% of counties in the U.S. could have 2 or fewer ACA insurers in 2017. In 2016, Wyoming was the only state where 100% of counties had just one marketplace option; in 2017, Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are likely to join it.” - One-Third of Counties Will Have Just One Obamacare Insurer by 2017, 08/29/2017,

Link to the entire article appears below:

Monday, August 29, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Dr. Strange Insurance…. Or How One Quits Worrying and Learns to Love Major Price Increases

"State insurance officials say they are feeling pressure to approve large ObamaCare premium increases to prevent more insurers losing money from dropping out of the market altogether.

Tennessee’s insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, this week announced the approval of premium hikes of 62 percent, 46 percent and 44 percent, respectively, for the three insurers on the state’s marketplace.

"She said her department’s actuaries had found the rate increases to be justified.

“I didn't feel like I had any choice but to approve those rates when it came back to be actuarially justified,” she said.

Tennessee is unlikely to be alone in authorizing premium hikes, either. In Maryland, officials are expecting a hike.

“There are going to be significant increases in the individual market,” said Al Redmer, the insurance commissioner in Maryland, where the rates are still being reviewed.

It is unclear how many other states may allow large premium hikes.

An early estimate from ObamaCare analyst Charles Gaba finds that for nine states the average approved premium increase for next year is 27.6 percent." - State officials under pressure to OK ObamaCare premium hikes,, 08/26/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:



Friday, August 26, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Rocky Exchange Road in Good Old Rocky Top

‘Tennessee’s insurance regulator, Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak, said the state’s Obamacare exchange is “very near collapse,” according to her statement to the Tennessean.

McPeak is focusing her efforts on making sure there are as many insurers possible paying into the Tennessee exchange. McPeak told the press, “I’m doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero.”

Kevin Walters, director of communications for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that “Tennessee has struggled to curb healthcare costs,” and that the state “has some of the highest insurance claims costs in the nation.”’ - Obamacare ‘Near Collapse’ In Tennessee, Says Insurance Regulator, daily, 08/24/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

ACA/Obamacare: And about the infamous phrase "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor"

'"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" was President Barack Obama's signature catchphrase he used to sell the Affordable Care Act to the American people. Now Obamacare's flagship website,, no longer even addresses the issue.

Ironically, the section in question was the first public (if indirect) admission by the Obama administration that the president's promise was less than a "guarantee." As THE WEEKLY STANDARD first reported in July 2013, the website told consumers that they "may be able to keep your current doctor," in contrast to the president's unequivocal statement: "Here is a guarantee that I've made. If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you've got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor."' -Obamacare Website No Longer Addresses 'You Can Keep Your Doctor' has disappeared references to Obama's failed promise. The Weekly Standard, 08/24/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Schemes Unravel Then Schemes Implode

“It has not been a good week for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.

A slew of news, from insurers dropping out to possible fraud among healthcare providers, has all accumulated in a deluge of negative headlines for one of President Obama's signature laws.

In fact, it's gotten so bad that it appears that the whole program itself may be in doubt.

While there are issues, and this past week highlighted many of them, it does appear that there is a long road ahead before we have a definitive understanding of Obamacare's survival, and there's a good chance that it makes it.

Obamacare's terrible, no good, very bad week

On Monday night, Aetna announced that it would be dropping around 80% of their policies offered through the ACA's public-health exchanges after sustaining large losses on the Obamacare business.

This makes Aetna the third of the "big five" insurance firms (which includes Humana, United Health Care, Cigna, and Anthem) to announce a serious cut to their Obamacare business.

Whether Aetna did this due to business losses, as the company claims, or because of the Department of Justice's lawsuit blocked their merger with Humana is still up for debate, but regardless, the firm will be out of nearly all of the exchanges by 2017.

In addition to the Aetna news, the New York Federal Reserve put out a study Tuesday that showed one out of every five businesses in the bank's district — which includes parts of New Jersey and Connecticut — said they were reducing hiring due to Obamacare.

On top of all of that, the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asked for public comment on instances in which healthcare providers directed patients to Obamacare over Medicare or Medicaid in order to make higher profits.

All in all, not a great week.” - Obamacare has gone from the president’s greatest achievement to a ‘slow-motion death spiral’, business, 08/21/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

Related article: Aetna Warned U.S. Before Exiting Health Exchanges,, 08/17/2016:



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Blue Fairy Tales in Alabama

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is seeking an average rate increase of 39 percent on individual plans offered through the Obamacare marketplace, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The proposed rate hikes will affect more than 160,000 people in Alabama who purchase insurance through the federal exchange, or about 5 percent of Blue Cross membership.

Rate increases range from 26 to 41 percent, depending on the type of plan. Proposed increases are lowest for bronze plans, which offer the least amount of coverage, and greatest for the most popular silver plans.

Blue Cross is the only insurance company that will offer Alabamians individual insurance plans through the exchange next year after the departure of Humana and UnitedHealth. Those departures were announced earlier this year.

The hefty rate hikes for Blue Cross customers will come on the heels of another increase in 2016 that averaged 28 percent for individual plans. The company lost more than $250 million on marketplace plans from 2014 to 2016, according to Blue Cross executives.

The high costs of individual marketplace customers in Alabama also factored into the departures of UnitedHealth and Humana, according to statements by those companies.” - Blue Cross proposes rate hike of nearly 40 percent on some Obamacare plans,, 08/08/2016

The entire article appears in the link below:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: And About the Price of the Medicaid Expansion Component of ACA ……..

‘The implementation of major legislation such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) often results in fiscal outcomes that differ significantly from prior projections. Whenever this happens it leads to many questions, much confusion, and several claims and counter-claims. Rarely is it immediately clear whether the law is working differently than envisioned, or whether the unexpected outcomes are due to inevitable projection errors having nothing to do with the law.

On rare occasion, however, a prior projection proves so far off that its significance must be noted. Two weeks ago my colleague Brian Blase uncovered such a development with respect to the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. Recall that the ACA considerably expanded Medicaid eligibility – an expansion made optional for the states in a later Supreme Court ruling. It turns out that the 2015 per-capita cost of this Medicaid expansion is a whopping 49% higher than projections made just one year before.

This disclosure can be found on page 27 of the 2015 Actuarial Report for Medicaid, released this July. Here is how the report described the issue:

“While the newly eligible adult per enrollee costs in 2014 were slightly lower than estimated in last year’s report ($5,488 compared to $5,517, or about 1 percent lower), the estimated per enrollee costs for 2015 in this year’s report are substantially greater ($6,366 compared to $4,281, or about 49 percent higher).”’ - The Soaring Costs of the ACA’s Medicaid Expansion,, 08/01/2016

Link to the entire essay appears below: