News outlets are reporting that Obamacare will cause an increase in premiums on the individual market. This is garbage.
The study comes from the Society of Actuaries. I would link to the study, but it isn’t online! Even the SOA homepage only links to the AP article about the study.
Republicans are saying that the study says premiums will increase by 32%. This is not true: the study says insurance companies will pay out 32% more benefits.
They say that because of those benefits, people in the individual market will face higher costs. This is ridiculous: there won’t be an individual market. People will be buying from the exchange, where we already know the premiums. Here they are again:
So, who will pay for the increase in medical claims? The federal government. That’s what Obamacare is: the federal government helping individuals get health care.
The be fair, there is one group who will be paying their own premiums: single people earning over $80,000 who don’t get employer-based coverage. There are 106,000 Ohioans who match that description.
And while these people may see their premiums rise, they will also be getting a much better value (e.g. coverage for pre-existing conditions) while helping to give insurance coverage to 1,548,100 other Ohioans. You built that!
What’s really alarming is that the 32% isn’t news. We’ve known about it from the outset. Obamacare takes the individual market (where currently, the coverage is lousy) and makes it more like the employee market.
Here’s what that looks like** in Michigan:
In order for a plan from the individual market to provide the same benefits as one you get from your employer, claims would increase 213%. That’s because plans on the individual market don’t actually cover anything.
Insurance that you buy on the individual market doesn’t cover the health conditions that you had prior to buying your insurance. You can give them money every month, but they won’t pay your medical bills. This is a gigantic problem, and Obamacare solves it completely.
Given how much this study has spread in the right-wing echo chamber, it’s sure to come up with the House GOP rolls out their Medicaid proposal. We need to rebut it, because the press won’t***. And if Ohio’s HMOs want the Medicaid expansion to happen, they had better be ready to talk about how they’ll be offering exchange plans that start at $55 a month.
** Ohio, for whatever reason, doesn’t report the average individual market premium.
*** It’s a debate between people with public health insurance, covered by people with employer-based coverage, about the quality of individual market insurance plans.