Obamacare

"The premiums don't tell the entire story."

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Over the summer, federal officials denied proposed rate hikes for 298 out of 2,100 bids from private insurers hoping to offer Medicare Advantage plans. As a result, the administration gets to claim that premiums went down slightly—by about 1 percent. But as The Wall Street Journal reports, that doesn't mean that seniors enrolled in those plans will be getting the same coverage for less. Instead, in many instances, they'll be getting less coverage, and, in many cases, facing increased copays and deductibles. And some plans might simply cease to operate:

The move may carry some downsides. Mr. Gorman [an insurance industry consultant] said that in some cases, the insurers were forced to run their plans at a loss. While it was generally too late for them to withdraw from Medicare Advantage for 2011—only a handful did—more might drop out for 2012 and force their customers to look for another plan.

Mr. Gorman said some of the approved plans cut benefits such as gym memberships and dental coverage, while raising co-payments for emergency-room visits and reducing prescription-drug coverage.

"The premiums don't tell the entire story," said Joshua Raskin, an analyst at Barclays Capital who covers insurers. "That doesn't necessarily mean they are getting the same benefits and network breadth."

For those who've been following the health insurance battles in Massachusetts, this is relatively tame version of a familiar story: The government rejects new premium rates, insurers end up operating at a loss, major headaches ensue.  And as the new health care law rolls out, and similar price control policies pop up in other states, it's likely to become even more common across the country.

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  1. Who could have foreseen this!? Unbelievable!

    *shocked face*

  2. But price controls worked great all those other times.

    1. I can’t think of one single instance where price controls have ever backfired like this. I mean, throughout all of history, we have no examples that would prepared us for this outcome.

  3. “The government rejects new premium rates, insurers end up operating at a loss, major headaches ensue”

    Clearly, this means the free market has failed. Don’t worry, we’ll protect you from those greedy insurance companies.

    1. This ^^^. Which is why I tell all leftists who are complaining that Obama didn’t give them a single-payer system to relax, because it’s coming.

      Obamacare causes insurance companies to raise premiums, drop customers, and reduce coverage. Team Blue demagogues the shit out of the insurance companies. Government regulates more. Insurers tighten up more or go out of business. Team Blue demagogues single-payer into law.

      All of this is certain because of Masturbatin’ Pete’s First Law of Regulation:

      “No matter how regulated an industry, all problems arising out of that industry will be successfully blamed solely on its unregulated components.”

  4. Can anyone explain to me exactly what is different between MassCare and Obamacare besides the amount of the tax mandate and the fact that it’s state vs. federal?

    Is there really any difference at all? Because I don’t see it. And if Massachusetts is the bellweather, we are truly fucked in ways that to this point seem almost unimaginable.

  5. “The premiums don’t tell the entire story,” said Joshua Raskin, an analyst at Barclays Capital who covers insurers. “That doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting the same benefits and network breadth.”

    It’s about access.

  6. “…that doesn’t mean that seniors enrolled in those plans will be getting the same coverage for less. Instead, in many instances, they’ll be getting less coverage,…”

    But this isn’t “rationing”.

    …because…because…um…because it just can’t be!

  7. The premiums don’t tell the entire story,That doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting the same benefits and network breadth.

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