The Affordable Care Act’s exchange platform is set to launch their new open enrollment period tomorrow, November 1 2016. When the exchanges open for business in the morning, however, a lot of Americans are going to be the victims of much worse sticker shock than initially imagined. It’s now confirmed that many plans will increase in price by as much as 25% over their prior year cost. Why is this happening, and what can be done?
Just days before the next presidential election, a bombshell is beginning to unfold from within the healthcare industry. It’s now certain that for many insurance purchasers, the cost of their premiums may go up as much as 25% over last year’s prices — for the same services rendered. What’s more, about 1 in 5 purchasers will be left with no real “marketplace” to speak of. In fact, in many markets, there will be only one insurer to choose from. This seems to be the very definition of a monopoly, and it leaves citizens facing a brutal choice: pay the outrageous premiums, or go without coverage altogether.
Many private insurers who have opted not to abide by the seemingly impossible rules of play set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have dropped out of the marketplace altogether, causing a tightening in coverage options, and subsequently raising prices across the board for middle-class Americans.
There seems to be no question in anyone’s mind that it is middle-class America that’s taking the brunt of the impact from these premium increases. Lower income Americans will still receive generous subsidies through the ACA program, and upper-class Americans have the financial flexibility to pay more for their health insurance. However, for middle class Americans who make too much to qualify for the strongest subsidies, but don’t have the disposable income to pay huge monthly amounts for premiums, open enrollment is beginning to look like a prisoner’s dilemma.
A recent report took a look at a hypothetical 27 year old in Arizona looking for a “silver tier” plan. That plan would have cost $196 per month last year, but this year the same plan would cost this hypothetical individual $422 per month. That kind of money is equivalent to leasing a luxury car — hardly the kind of cash that most middle-class Americans can simply fork over without a second thought, even if it is for a service as important as health care.
Each week, Urgent 9 founder Dr. Manuel Momjian will personally weigh in on the topics covered by the blog.
I’ve been talking about how the Affordable Care Act is taking our healthcare in the wrong direction for as long as I can remember. Feel free to check out an interview that I did from June of 2012 on ABC Channel 7 news with Danise Dador.
In the interview, I was talking about how small private practices are going to be forced to close down, and my predictions are unfortunately coming true. We have more private doctors’ offices selling their practices or closing down than in any recent time in history. All this is happening while patients are paying much higher insurance premiums, and finding that they have narrower networks of providers to choose from. It is a tragedy, but I do believe there are common sense solutions to our healthcare crisis. My only recommendation is to avoid taking advice from insurance company insiders the next time we try to fix anything.
– Dr. Manuel Momjian, Urgent 9 Founder