There’s Good News And Bad News For Obamacare Buyers In Iowa

The 'good news' is that if you're an Obamacare buyer anywhere in Iowa there is still one provider willing to sell you healthcare insurance, which wasn't the case just a few weeks back when it looked like large areas of the state would have no providers at all.  The bad news is that your rates are going up 57% so you're probably not going to be able to afford insurance anyway.

As the Des Moines Daily Register points out today, Medica is the only healthcare insurance provider still willing to offer Obamacare plans in the state of Iowa and they're hiking rates by 57% in 2018 just to make it economically feasible.  Of course, Medica was also very clear to point out that it's all Trump's fault.

Iowans who buy their own health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange would see their rates increase nearly 57 percent next year under a revised rate proposed Wednesday.

 

The proposal is 13 percentage points higher than previously was estimated by Medica, the one remaining carrier selling individual policies in Iowa next year.

 

Medica attributed the additional increase to uncertainties over federal health care subsidies, the insurer said in a release.

 

“We remain hopeful the federal government will fund the cost-sharing reductions, but we are working with the Iowa Insurance Division to help consumers understand the implications of lack of this funding,” Geoff Bartsh, Medica vice president of individual and family business, said in a statement. “We regret the disruption this creates for consumers.”

Perhaps Medica didn't notice but the Trump administration hasn't even decided to cut federal subsidies yet...maybe we can all agree it's just a little disingenuous to be blaming something that hasn't even happened yet?

Obama

 

But, if federal subsidies are cut, even the CBO recently found doing so would cause a 20% increase in Obamacare premiums in 2018, no where near Medica's 57% increase. Here are the highlights from the CBO report:

- The fraction of people living in areas with no insurers offering nongroup plans would be greater during the next two years and about the same starting in 2020;

 

- Gross premiums for silver plans offered through the marketplaces would be 20 percent higher in 2018 and 25 percent higher by 2020—boosting the amount of premium tax credits according to the statutory formula;

 

- Most people would pay net premiums (after accounting for premium tax credits) for nongroup insurance throughout the next decade that were similar to or less than what they would pay otherwise—although the share of people facing slight increases would be higher during the next two years;

 

- Federal deficits would increase by $6 billion in 2018, $21 billion in 2020, and $26 billion in 2026; and ? The number of people uninsured would be slightly higher in 2018 but slightly lower starting in 2020.

Meanwhile, Doug Ommen, Iowa's insurance commissioner, pointed out the real reason Obamacare premiums are soaring in his state...healthy, young, working people who don't qualify for subsidies simply can't afford it and the result is a deteriorating risk pool that grows exponentially more expensive to insure with each passing year.

State Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said Wednesday that many middle-class Iowans will choose to forgo health insurance rather than pay the "extraordinarily high premiums."

 

"While those that are subsidized may not feel the full impact of this additional increase as their contribution is capped based on a percentage of their income," Ommen said, "those middle-class Iowans who do not receive federal subsidies and are paying the full premium cost out-of-pocket are forced to make very difficult choices."

Perhaps the smart thing for the Trump administration to do would be to leave the federal subsidies in place.  That way when Obamacare fails under it's own weight there will be no ambiguity as to what caused it. 

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