Coming attractions for the Obamacare disaster film
Betsy McCaughey, who knows as much about Obamacare as anyone who wasn’t involved in writing it, offers a preview of the new disasters about to unfold as the health care law kicks in. If the law were a disaster film, her article could serve as the trailer for part 2.
She expects a wave of premium defaults, and explains why even the AMA, a big proponent of the law, is worried:
First-time insurance purchasers, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, will be shocked by ObamaCare’s high deductibles, about $3,000 for the silver plan (the most commonly selected) and $5,000 for the bronze plan (the most affordable).
Basically, you’ll have to pay thousands out of pocket for appointments, tests and prescriptions until you reach your deductible.
Millennials who heard Obama say on “Between Two Ferns” that they can buy a health plan for the price of a cellphone contract won’t be laughing when they realize what the $5,000 deductible means. (It’s like a cellphone contract that makes you pay $5 a text for your first thousand texts.) Rather than pay thousands out of pocket for care while also paying premiums, some will quit paying premiums.
Makes perfect sense to me. The billion dollars or so of Obamacare advertising, marketing, and promotion neglected to mention that you would need to lay out several thousand dollars each year before you could collect a dime in benefits. Misleading advertising?
Then there are the premium hikes coming our way:
Consumers reeling from ObamaCare premium shock are in for another jolt when the 2015 rates come out.
Overall, consumers had to pay far more for individual plans this year. In some states (Delaware and New Hampshire), rates went up 90 percent or even 100 percent, according to a newly released Morgan Stanley analysis.
And insurance executives already are warning about double- or triple-digit hikes for next year.
We already have focused on keep your doctor, keep your insurance as lies of the year. But how about the Obama claim of average savings of $2500 a year? For people getting triple digit increases, hat promise is going to rankle.
McCaughey estimates that 25-30 million people are going to lose their coverage, dwarfing the numbers who lost coverage in individual plans this year.
For the same reasons that millions of policies in the individual market were canceled last year, employers who buy plans in the small-group market will have a hard time renewing their old plans this year. Many will have to choose between providing the more costly ObamaCare benefit package or dropping coverage altogether.
And to top it all, the extremely emotional issue of cancer care is lurking. As McCaughey points out, cancer is the disease we most fear, and it is also a disease that great progress has been made against. However, to benefit from these advances, a patient may need to go to one of the top cancer treatment centers but such centers are no longer available to millions of people under their new exchange plans.
Many plans exclude all specialty cancer hospitals, even though research shows that women with ovarian cancer, for example, live a year longer when they are treated at high-volume cancer hospitals instead of local facilities. But insurers say they’d have to raise premiums for exchange plans even higher if this growing outrage over access to cancer centers forces them to broaden their networks.
Politically, Obamacare will be disaster for Democrats, because practically, it is a disaster for Americans.