Question: I thought the President said that we could keep our current insurance plan and our current doctor, and that rates would fall as insurance became more affordable. Now I am reading that due to Obamacare, none of that is true, and my rates are going to be much higher. Why is all this happening? What happened to all the "reform?"
I hear this question pretty much daily. It is troubling, indeed.
Insurance theory might be trace to Chinese traders around 3,000 BC. They insured themselves against loss by literally spreading risk. A large load of goods for trading might be loaded onto multiple ships for transit so that the loss of any one ship would not be catastrophic or total. Thus, managing risk means spreading it so that it is borne by many.
The assumption in the Affordable Care Act was that large numbers of young, healthy people who do not consume much in the health care marketplace would buy insurance in the exchanges rather than pay the fine, tax, penalty, or "shared sacrifice payment," thus spreading the risk to people who would pay for high consumers. This is not holding true. The remaining participants in the risk pool are older, sicker, and higher risk, thus more expensive. Without large numbers of young people to pay the bill, the actuarial assumptions are not met. A corollary of this discussion is that Obamacare was designed to be built on the backs of young adults.
The American Action Forum reports, "Due to the ACA's sweeping market reforms, rates for low-premium plans have increased exponentially between 2013 and 2014. In fact, on average, a healthy 30 year old male nonsmoker will see his lowest cost insurance option increase 260%." This rate hike will be seen in all fifty state and the District of Columbia. Rates in South Carolina will nearly triple. Young people in Vermont will see the highest rate hike at about 600% of pre-Obama rates.
Medicare actuaries place the cost of Obamacare at $621 billion over ten years. If you divide that by the number of people paying into the system, you arrive at the number you hear on the television and radio discussions. Instead of a promised $2,500 savings per year, a family of four will pay an extra $7,450 per year to keep coverage. Here in Georgia, premium increases will be among the highest dollar increase, along with Vermont, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Wisconsin. Vermont, Wyoming, Mississippi, Alaska, and Indiana.
As to the promise of keeping your current plan or current doctor, this cannot be guaranteed, either. Some have asserted that Obamacare will narrow your choices of doctors because the doctors are forced to compete for lower reimbursement, so prices for care will be driven down. The reality, however, is that many physicians are recognizing that they simply won't be able to stay in practice with the shrinking reimbursements. The overhead of having an office, equipment, staff, liability insurance, utilities, and other items will make it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Many will opt for a career change or early retirement, possibly including your own.
The good news for you if you lose your doctor is that you may get a nurse practitioner instead for your primary care. They are educated with graduate degrees (which a medical degree is not), independently licensed, and typically very thorough. These dedicated professionals will stand in the gap for routine care.
Your current insurance plan is certainly at risk. Obama's stated goal is to do away with commercial insurance in favor of a single payer system, which is full socialized medicine, government controlled. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated recently for PBS' Nevada Week In Review that Obamacare was "absolutely" a step in a strategy to move to a single payer system. Reid stated that Progressives argued for a "public option," which is the single payer system, when the exchanges were passed. It was to be a "Trojan horse" for introducing the single payer system for the ultimate removal of the private insurance industry.
In short, I think that if Obamacare stands, the entire private insurance industry is doomed because the government does not have to make a profit to compete. It can just print more money and run deficits for your children to pay. This creates an unlevel playing field that the government will will.
So, I think your rates will skyrocket, and you will get less for your money. Your provider will almost certainly change. You will be forced to pay for others' care through your increase premiums while giving up the quality of care you always assumed as an American citizen. Government will soon make your health decisions and have control of your private health information though an agency clearly hostile to half the population. It makes you wonder how any of this could happen in America.