U.S. citizens are beginning to feel the ‘big financial pinch’ from big-government health care. And it is likely to get a lot worse….
ObamaCare’s Wallet-buster Health Plans WallStreetJournal 2-1-16 – Excerpts:
[Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce analysis] The findings: Nationally, premiums for individual health plans increased by an average of 14.9% between 2015 and 2016.
Consumers in every state except Mississippi faced increased premiums, and in no fewer than 29 states the average increases were in the double digits. For a third of states, the average premiums rose 20% or more.
Health-insurance premiums rose by more than 30% in Alaska and Hawaii; Oregon’s average rate increase was 23.2%. California’s premiums on average rose by a modest 1.5%.
Consumers in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois faced increases exceeding 20% on average. The East Coast north of Maryland was the least hard hit (New York’s average premium increase was 6%), although Pennsylvania and New Jersey consumers faced premium increases of 14.6% and 13.1% respectively.
In 11 of the 16 states defined as southern by the U.S. Census Bureau, premiums rose by more than 10%. Premiums rose on average by 13.9%, and by more than 20% in Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina and Oklahoma. In Texas, where data was only available for 98.5% of individual-market health-care plans, premiums rose by 14.1%.
Average premiums in Tennessee rose 35.2%—mostly because of the state’s largest individual-market insurer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which sold 82% of all exchange plans in 2015. After losing $141 million on these plans last year, the company had little choice but to request average premium increases of 36.3%. The state insurance commission approved this request, lest the company leave the exchange altogether and leave 231,000 Tennesseans in the lurch.
Minnesota holds the dubious honor of having the highest year-over-year premium increases, 47.7%. Why? Because that state’s BlueCross BlueShield, the largest insurer, with over 90% of the market, lost tens of millions of dollars during the Affordable Care Act’s first two years. The company requested an average 49% rate increase, which was approved by state regulators.
Remember: These premium increases are only one piece of the health-care cost puzzle. Deductibles are also rising under the Affordable Care Act. Silver plans—the most popular on the exchanges—had average deductibles of nearly $3,000 in 2016, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This represents an 8% increase over last year.
Millions of Americans are coming to believe that the Affordable Care Act’s costs far outweigh its benefits. In 2014, the latest year for which data is available, roughly 7.5 million Americans paid the IRS penalty rather than purchase the law’s insurance. This penalty is rising to an average $969 per household in 2016 in an attempt to force people onto the exchanges. Yet even a $1,000 fine is cheap compared to thousands—and sometimes tens of thousands—of dollars for an Affordable Care Act-compliant plan.
Big government is not providing health care solutions. It is expanding America’s health care problems.
Decentralized health care is the solution, with U.S. citizens allocating health care resources in accordance with their own needs and desires: