You get the feeling these stories will start coming in all fast and furious again, now that the election is approaching? Anyway, here’s Stephen Parente with the latest:
Using the 2014 health-insurance exchange enrollment data and a micro-simulation model funded in part by the Department of Health and Human Services, we estimate the national and state impact of the Affordable Care Act on insurance prices and enrollment from 2015-24. The average premium for an individual exchange health plan (Silver) will increase by $1,375 by 2019 while the average family premium for the same plan will increase by $4,198—outpacing the average increases from 2008 to 2013. Consumers who saw spikes in their health premiums last year will experience the same trauma this year. But the steepest price increases will not occur until 2017 and after, when three things happen.
First will be the Affordable Care Act’s “essential benefits” requirements. All plans—including those currently exempted for hardship and old plans extended for various reasons—must provide all of the law’s mandated benefits from Jan. 1, 2017. On average roughly 15% of plans offered in 2013 will not qualify for sale on the insurance exchanges once all extensions are completed. Depending on the state, as many as 60% of the plans sold in 2013 would not be permitted for sale.
The law’s “reinsurance” program will also expire in 2017. Health insurers will no longer be able to bill the government for 80% of a patient’s health-care costs when they make more than $45,000 in annual claims. The multibillion-dollar risk corridors for insurance companies will also sunset in 2017—ending the taxpayer bailouts that kick in when insurance companies providing ACA plans lose money.
You’ll notice that the worst comes in 2017, around the time President Obama is, I hope, preparing for a comfortable and permanent exile on St. Helena.
Well, I suppose the “comfortable” part is optional.