Even today, as the Paul Ryan-led healthcare bill works its way to the Senate for debate and consideration, the stark reality of the Affordable Care Act has again reared its ugly head. That reality is that whether Congress and the president come up with a repeal-and-replace compromise or not, Obamacare is doomed. The thing is crumbling beneath its own weight and even without repeal will be a shell of its former self very, very soon.
At the pace insurers are leaving the Obamacare exchanges and/or increasing rates, employers are moving employees from full-to-part time status to avoid its crushing costs, households are receiving notices of cancellation or massive rate increases and there’s no hope the Obamacare ‘exchanges’ produce anything other than red ink.
Earlier this week we learned that “Covered California,” the state’s official health care marketplace, could increase premiums Californians pay by as much as 49 percent next year. California’s announcement on May 2nd was merely the latest in a long string of “this isn’t working.” Now it Maryland’s turn.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that “Health care insurers in Maryland have requested premium rate hikes as high as 150.83 percent for next year, according to the state’s insurance administration.
The five insurers in the individual market requested three different rates to the insurance commissioner, which included a minimum rate increase, a maximum rate increase, and an average rate increase.
The insurers serving the individual market in Maryland include CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc., CareFirst of Maryland, Inc., Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co., Evergreen Health, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States.
While Kaiser requested a minimum rate increase of 9.13 percent, Cigna requested a max premium rate increase of 150.83 percent. The average rate increase for the five insurers who submitted rate increases on the individual market ranged from 18.08 to 58.80 percent.
With these average rate increases, a 40-year-old nonsmoker who purchases the lowest-cost silver plan will see his average premium increase from $359.25 to $714.95, before any subsidies.
The 10 insurers in the small group market are also requesting average rate increases as high as 17.5 percent. One insurer, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., is actually requesting reducing the average rate by 2.7 percent.
For the same 40-year-old nonsmoker purchasing the lowest-cost silver plan in the small-group market, average premiums are expected to rise in a range of $242.04 to $438.09, before subsidies.”
A 40-year-old nonsmoker -in other words a very low-risk insured- purchasing the lowest cost plan could see a premium increase from $359.15 to $714.95. Even the most math-challenged among us can figure out THAT’S DOUBLE!!
Joe Average American living in Maryland could see the amount he’s paying for health insurance double. What does that do to a family’s grocery budget, annual vacation plans, ability to upgrade to a newer car? And Joe Average hasn’t suddenly become a greater loss risk, he hasn’t decided to take up paragliding or sword swallowing. All he’s guilty of is living in a country where six years ago Democrats rammed through a bill without reading it and now he and the rest of us are paying the price.
By the time the ACA is finished cracking, crumbling and collapsing the final cost to the America taxpayer will be mind-numbing and no one outside of about the top 25 percent or so are going to be able to afford the monthly premiums. Get it together Senate, because this turkey of a law cannot go away soon enough.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]