Economy, Regs, & Taxes

ObamaCare Cost Curve Hits The Patriot Post. Again.

Good news: Our insurance premiums are going up 33%.

Nate Jackson · Apr. 8, 2016
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working toward euthanizing health savings accounts (HSAs). Democrats have barely attempted to hide their preference for a single-payer health insurance system, so it only stands to reason they’d work to pull the plug on the most attractive market option standing in the way.

Democrats have always hated HSAs because they put patients in charge of their own health spending (to a point — in some ways, HSA users are still swimming upstream against the health system’s lack of price transparency.) But the market-driven approach has become increasingly popular in the last decade.

“In the past seven years, [HSA] enrollment has climbed 18% a year on average,” notes Investor’s Business Daily. “Today, there are almost 20 million enrollees who have more than $24 billion in their HSA accounts. Even the number crunchers in the Health and Human Services Department admit that these ‘consumer-directed’ health plans are helping to hold down costs.”

Imagine where we’d be without them.

Back in March, just in time for ObamaCare’s six-year anniversary, HHS issued new rules that will effectively end HSAs. Roy J. Ramthun, an expert on the subject often known as “Mr. HSA” — president and founder of HSA Consulting after having led the U.S. Treasury Department’s implementation of HSAs upon enactment in 2003 — explains the impact of the rule changes:

1) Plans must apply specific deductibles and out-of-pocket limits that are outside the requirements for HSA-qualified plans.

2) Plans must cover services below the deductible that are not considered “preventive care.”

In other words, HSAs will still be legal, but ever fewer plans will meet the requirements. Ramthun writes, “[I]t is only a matter of time before the HSA-qualified plans completely disappear. That could happen as early as 2017 even though the standard benefit designs are optional. By 2018, when the designs likely become mandatory, HSAs will cease to exist in the marketplace.”

So we weren’t the least bit surprised to find out this week that we face a major rate increase this summer for renewing our small business health insurance plan.

Here’s a peek into the window of the internal operations of our humble shop:

Our full-time employees range in age from about 25 to 60 — the median age is 37. All of us are married, and some of our families include children (as in younger than 26 years of age). We’re all of reasonable health and don’t unduly burden the health care system with claims. Our plan is a high-deductible HSA, and it doesn’t include eye or dental insurance.

One would reason, therefore, that our premiums would be low. And one would be dead wrong. That used to be true, but that was before ObamaCare. For the last several years, our premiums have gone up by double digits annually, and this year’s 33% increase is among the highest so far. On top of that, our deductibles also rose last year. Since the “Affordable” Care Act came along, we now pay nearly four times as much — for less coverage.

Another note: Our plan doesn’t actually qualify under ObamaCare’s requirements, but it’s “grandmothered” for the time being. Changing anything will only make either the price go up or the coverage go down — or both.

It would be one thing if our experience were an outlier, but it’s not; it’s the norm. Health insurance premiums around the country are going up by double-digit percentages every year, and some by 50% or more. What ever happened to “bending the cost curve down” as Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats regularly promised? “We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year,” he guaranteed. Reality is just the opposite. How is that in any way “affordable”?

Or how about being able to keep one’s doctor or one’s plan? While millions of patients have been told to look for other doctors, millions of insurance plans have been canceled in recent years. Indeed, a large portion of the people signing up for coverage under ObamaCare had coverage they liked but lost.

This is all just part of the ObamaCare web of lies.

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “[H]e who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him.” And that above all else defines Obama’s pathetic legacy — not just on health care, either.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s this: With increasing frequency, Americans of every political stripe who have any issue with health care, whether a hangnail or heart transplant, a delay in a doctor’s office or in critical care for a loved one, will tie blame for their discontent like a noose around the necks of Obama and his fellow Democrats, who are solely responsible for forcing this abomination upon the American people.

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