Another non-profit Obamacare insurer bites the dust
Obamacare continues to unravel all on its own as the Kentucky Health Cooperative, a non-profit co-op, will close its doors because the payment from the "risk corridors" mandated by Obamacare isn't enough to cover its massive losses.
That program was intended to protect insurers from heavy losses in the early years of the health law by taking money from better-performing insurers and giving it to worse-performing ones.
However, the Obama administration announced on Oct. 1 that the program would pay out far less than requested, because the payments coming in were not enough to match what insurers requested to be paid. Therefore, insurers only will receive 12.6 percent of the $2.87 billion they requested.
“It is with sadness that we announce this decision," the insurer’s CEO, Glenn Jennings, said in a statement. "This very difficult choice was made after much deliberation. If there were a way to avoid it and simultaneously do right by the members, providers and all others that we serve, we would do so.”
The Department of Health and Human Services says that it recognizes that the low payments to insurers could have raised financial concerns for some insurers, and that as start-ups, not all co-ops would succeed.
The Obama administration said when making the risk corridor announcement earlier this month that the low payments could cause “isolated solvency and liquidity challenges” for a small number of insurers.
The Kentucky co-op is the fifth to close, following New York’s co-op last month.
“CMS’s priority is to make sure that Marketplace customers have access to quality, affordable coverage through the Marketplace,” said HHS spokesman Ben Wakana, referring to the federal agency that helps oversee the health law. “We are working with Kentucky officials to do everything possible to make sure consumers stay covered.”
The Kentucky co-op provides insurance for 51,000 people, who will lose their plans at the end of the year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the problems speak to the health law as a whole.
“Barely a week goes by that we don’t see another harmful consequence of this poorly conceived, badly executed law,” McConnell said in a statement. “Despite repeated Obama administration bailout attempts, this is the latest in a string of broken promises with real consequences for the people of Kentucky who may now be losing the health insurance they had and liked twice within the past three years because of Obamacare’s failures.”
That just about sums it up. The administration will claim that these are unintended consequences that were impossible to foresee. That's a load of hornswoggle. Every single failure of Obamacare was predicted far in advance of the law's implementation, not including the lies told by the president about people being able to keep their insurance and their doctor if they wanted to.
It should be noted that Obamacare is only about 70% implemented. The employer mandate kicks in next year, and a slew of provisions won't be activated until 2017. The more failures of co-ops and exchanges, the easier it will be to fold up the law when there's someone in the White House who cares more about insuring the American people than in building an historical legacy.