Thanks, Obama: Health Care Premiums Up in 45 States

 

obamacare-premium-map
The Affordable Care Act is proving to be less affordable than ever. A recent study by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute showed that only five states showed a decrease in the price of an average health-insurance plan in the past year, as did the District of Columbia. The rest of the country saw their premium costs rise.

The worst increase was in Oklahoma, where plans jumped by nearly 42 percent, with 12 states’ costs rising by more than 20 percent. Alaska’s rose 40.2 percent, Tennessee’s rose 38.6 percent, and Montana’s rose 35.2 percent. The only states with a greater than 5 percent decrease were Indiana and Mississippi.

Traditionally studies use a national aggregate of costs, but the study’s authors found that to be deeply misleading since local variations are so great.

“We conclude that a national average rate of premium increase is a fairly meaningless statistic since different markets are having very different experiences,” the authors said. “The focus of attention should be on understanding the wide variability by identifying the characteristics of markets that have experienced high premiums or high growth in premiums and of markets with lower premiums or lower growth in premiums.”

The states with the most competition between insurers had the best results (imagine that). Perhaps the Obama administration should have taken an Economics 101 class at their local community college before choosing to obliterate most of the market incentives in the health insurance industry.

There are 35 comments.

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  1. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Single payer will fix this.

    Socialized medicine will fix this.

    Taxing the rich will fix this.

    • #1
    • June 8, 2016, at 2:49 PM PDT
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  2. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    I can’t figure out what could have gone wrong. We forced the insurance companies to take on clients who are guaranteed to cost more than the price of their plans, we forced the companies to put more coverage in their policies, and we increased the price of medical devices by imposing a new tax. And yet the costs went up and not down? Consarnit, it just makes no sense!

    • #2
    • June 8, 2016, at 2:54 PM PDT
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  3. Jules PA Member

    What are the common characteristics of the states with lower or stable premiums?

    Besides the competition factor?

    Do states with good results have the exchanges?

    Are federal dollars included in calculations of premium increase or decrease?

    thanks for this post.

    • #3
    • June 8, 2016, at 2:55 PM PDT
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  4. Mendel Member

    Obamacare is such an endless labyrinth that I don’t think we can even say things like “healthcare expenses are going up” just based on this data.

    Six years ago, the government went to the insurance industry and said: you have to offer a type of product you’ve never offered before, and think up a price for this unprecedented product.” Not surprisingly, a lot of those companies guessed wrong.

    So rising premiums might not reflect healthcare becoming more expensive as it does the insurance companies catching up to the fact that healthcare has been more expensive under Obamacare than they originally thought.

    • #4
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:02 PM PDT
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  5. Mendel Member

    Either way, it doesn’t particularly matter from an electoral standpoint.

    This study looks at premiums on the individual market. Since many/most customers on the individual market are subsidized, “rising premiums” doesn’t actually mean “higher healthcare costs to voters” but just “more subsidies paid by hidden taxes”.

    As long as most voters don’t actually see more money leaving their own accounts due to healthcare expenses, this change won’t register strongly in their minds.

    • #5
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:06 PM PDT
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  6. Marion Evans Inactive

    It would be easy to bring costs down:

    1- allow insurance companies to compete everywhere.

    2- tort law reform.

    3- increase deductibles so the insured can’t use health services on an all-you-can-eat basis as they do now. There has to be a negotiation between patient and doctor.

    Not a coincidence btw that the three economic sectors where the government is heavily involved are seeing the most inflation: real estate, health care, education. All other prices are going down.

    • #6
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:12 PM PDT
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  7. DocJay Inactive

    The issue is astoundingly worse than those statistics and our system is going under within two decades if not sooner.

    • #7
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:20 PM PDT
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  8. DocJay Inactive

    The discussion following this post I made last week was the best I’ve ever seen on medicine around the world and possible solutions. Rather than decaying as the comments progress the information provided by members and perspectives of others are just great

    Is it Time for National Health Care?

    • #8
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:25 PM PDT
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  9. BrentB67 Inactive

    HHS announced today that they are going to curtail short-term temporary plans that many of us have subsisted on for the past couple of years. Great.

    • #9
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:41 PM PDT
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  10. Mendel Member

    Marion Evans:It would be easy to bring costs down:

    1- allow insurance companies to compete everywhere.

    2- tort law reform.

    3- increase deductibles so the insured can’t use health services on an all-you-can-eat basis as they do now. There has to be a negotiation between patient and doctor.

    I’m much less sanguine.

    Think of the three pillars on which Obamacare is based:

    1. Health insurance companies may not refuse to cover anyone
    2. Health insurance companies must charge everyone the same rate regardless of risk
    3. No annual or lifetime limits on most benefit payments

    As long as those provisions are in place, no amount of competition or tort reform will be able to take a meaningful bite out of prices. And the inevitable subsidies will keep many consumers from becoming price conscious.

    Worse, now that Obamacare has established a precedent which (theoretically) provides everyone healthcare regardless of their health or personal finances, any replacement will be expected to do the same.

    • #10
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:45 PM PDT
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  11. Frozen Chosen Inactive

    Premiums went down in MI, IN & OH and grew only slightly in FL & VA.

    Bad news for Trump’s chances in November.

    • #11
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:54 PM PDT
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  12. DocJay Inactive

    Frozen Chosen:Premiums went down in MI, IN & OH and grew only slightly in FL & VA.

    Bad news for Trump’s chances in November.

    Access is becoming a nightmare in some areas, Florida among them, especially for seniors. Medication costs are spiraling for some of them.

    • #12
    • June 8, 2016, at 3:59 PM PDT
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  13. Zafar Member

    How do these figures compare to costs incurred by due to uninsured people showing up at hospitals? Is there any correlation between the states where the price of plans fell and previous levels of insurance?

    • #13
    • June 8, 2016, at 4:01 PM PDT
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  14. BrentB67 Inactive

    Frozen Chosen:Premiums went down in MI, IN & OH and grew only slightly in FL & VA.

    Bad news for Trump’s chances in November.

    Interesting point Frozen. Thank you.

    • #14
    • June 8, 2016, at 4:02 PM PDT
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  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Frozen Chosen:Premiums went down in MI, IN & OH and grew only slightly in FL & VA.

    Bad news for Trump’s chances in November.

    Not sure about that. Here in Indiana the reason it may not have gone up is that our deductibles are through the roof. People used to pay $20 for a GP office visit are not going at all since they do not have the $180 cost of a visit. People that want children that used to cost them $1000 are now not having children because it now costs $10000. Just because the premium did not go up does not mean the end user costs did not go up.

    • #15
    • June 8, 2016, at 4:19 PM PDT
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  16. Frozen Chosen Inactive

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

    Frozen Chosen:Premiums went down in MI, IN & OH and grew only slightly in FL & VA.

    Bad news for Trump’s chances in November.

    Not sure about that. Here in Indiana the reason it may not have gone up is that our deductibles are through the roof. People used to pay $20 for a GP office visit are not going at all since they do not have the $180 cost of a visit. People that want children that used to cost them $1000 are now not having children because it now costs $10000. Just because the premium did not go up does not mean the end user costs did not go up.

    Good point

    • #16
    • June 8, 2016, at 4:23 PM PDT
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  17. DocJay Inactive

    Frozen Chosen:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

    Frozen Chosen:

    Not sure about that. Here in Indiana the reason it may not have gone up is that our deductibles are through the roof. People used to pay $20 for a GP office visit are not going at all since they do not have the $180 cost of a visit. People that want children that used to cost them $1000 are now not having children because it now costs $10000. Just because the premium did not go up does not mean the end user costs did not go up.

    Good point

    Many poorish folks are foregoing needed procedures because of high deductibles so I get to deal with more bleeding because of it. This has been bleeding week. One vaginal who needs a hysterectomy but can’t afford the deductible but had now worked out a payment plan because the fatigue and pain got so bad. The other is now in hospital getting transfused but should have had his scopes done months ago but couldn’t afford them but now will get them tonight or tomorrow ( and at far more expense and inconvenience to the medical system) because he’s pooping road tar. Both folks barely above Medicaid levels

    Before my neck surgery I wrote I think 6600 dollars worth of checks for deductible. Last year my deductible prior to shoulder surgery was about 3 K. Same policy, higher price by far, double deductible and less benefits.

    • #17
    • June 8, 2016, at 4:55 PM PDT
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  18. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Randy Weivoda:I can’t figure out what could have gone wrong. We forced the insurance companies to take on clients who are guaranteed to cost more than the price of their plans, we forced the companies to put more coverage in their policies, and we increased the price of medical devices by imposing a new tax. And yet the costs went up and not down? Consarnit, it just makes no sense!

    What went wrong? The same thing that goes wrong with all government plans. It was not big enough. If we would have just done more, faster it would have been just fine.

    • #18
    • June 8, 2016, at 5:20 PM PDT
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  19. DocJay Inactive

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

    Randy Weivoda:I can’t figure out what could have gone wrong. We forced the insurance companies to take on clients who are guaranteed to cost more than the price of their plans, we forced the companies to put more coverage in their policies, and we increased the price of medical devices by imposing a new tax. And yet the costs went up and not down? Consarnit, it just makes no sense!

    What went wrong? The same thing that goes wrong with all government plans. It was not big enough. If we would have just done more, faster it would have been just fine.

    What went wrong is that every greedy special interest ( already driving the costs off a cliff )wrote their own section of the law in addition to unrealistic expectations from our government. Unless failing and having the country beg for single payer was the idea.

    • #19
    • June 8, 2016, at 5:25 PM PDT
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  20. Front Seat Cat Member

    This has deeply hurt my family personally, small business – people are getting less care, less testing, for more money – physicians are shaking their heads – you can see it on their faces – we will become a sicker nation for it – this is anti-freedom, anti-American. People who could not afford healthcare before (low income) had Medicaid, and clinics – this was not the answer.

    • #20
    • June 8, 2016, at 5:48 PM PDT
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  21. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Hey, at least you can keep your doctor and plan if you like them!

    • #21
    • June 8, 2016, at 6:20 PM PDT
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  22. The Reticulator Member

    I blame corporate greed. The corporation I’m thinking of us the U.S. government (including its employees).

    • #22
    • June 8, 2016, at 7:11 PM PDT
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  23. Profile Photo Member

    *than

    • #23
    • June 8, 2016, at 7:23 PM PDT
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  24. Douglas Inactive

    Marion Evans:It would be easy to bring costs down:

    1- allow insurance companies to compete everywhere.

    2- tort law reform.

    3- increase deductibles so the insured can’t use health services on an all-you-can-eat basis as they do now. There has to be a negotiation between patient and doctor.

    Those things would definitely help, and bring costs down, but there are problems inherent with medical insurance that you don’t get with, say, car insurance. With car insurance, if you’re a good driver (and a little lucky, i.e. some drunk doesn’t rear-end you at the Mall), then costs are fairly steady. But you replace your car ever 5-10 years (most people, anyway), so maintenance costs are steady. You don’t get a new human body every 5 years. So you’re guaranteed to have ever-increasing medical expenses, as everyone is going to have a medical problem of some kind. And the older you get, the worse (and more expensive) things will get. This is why any kind of medical insurance scheme… private or nationalized… has to involve the young and healthy subsidizing the old and not healthy. If it doesn’t, then you have a case of medical costs becoming catastrophic for the old. Unless we just start taking older people out to the field and putting them down like a lame horse (Europe is headed this way), then they have to be subsidized by young earnings or general taxation.

    • #24
    • June 8, 2016, at 7:48 PM PDT
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  25. TeamAmerica Member

    Douglas:

    Marion Evans:It would be easy to bring costs down:

    1- allow insurance companies to compete everywhere.

    2- tort law reform.

    3- increase deductibles so the insured can’t use health services on an all-you-can-eat basis as they do now. There has to be a negotiation between patient and doctor.

    Those things would definitely help, and bring costs down, but there are

    you replace your car ever 5-10 years (most people, anyway), so maintenance costs are steady. You don’t get a new human body every 5 years. So you’re guaranteed to have ever-increasing medical expenses, as everyone is going to have a medical problem of some kind. And the older you get, the worse (and more expensive) things will get. This is why any kind of medical insurance scheme… private or nationalized… has to involve the young and healthy subsidizing the old and not healthy. If it doesn’t, then you have a case of medical costs becoming catastrophic for the old. Unless we just start taking older people out to the field and putting them down like a lame horse (Europe is headed this way), then they have to be subsidized by young earnings or general taxation.

    As for the elderly, the biggest cost is at the end of life. If the choice is voluntary, I agree with Obama that seniors should voluntarily forgo expensive treatments that do little to prolong life. That would have a major impact on costs, afaik.

    • #25
    • June 8, 2016, at 11:46 PM PDT
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  26. TKC1101 Inactive

    Frozen Chosen:Premiums went down in MI, IN & OH and grew only slightly in FL & VA.

    Bad news for Trump’s chances in November.

    Premiums are irrelevant. The deductibles are the killers for the lower middle class. They have insurance payments and major cash flow hits from medical bill before it pays anything. Most labs , surgeries and clinics are demanding payment before they sharpen a scalpel.

    A child who needs $2000 in tests can destroy a family’s cash flow even with insurance. But they get free mammograms by law, on demand.

    Strip all the politically correct crap out, let the companies come up with products that work for their customers. Forcing all the pre-existing conditions passed insane risk levels on everyone.

    I have folks in jobs with families who make $25 an hour look at a company plan, understand it and realize the premiums are high and are covering their worst case scenarios only.

    They are torn between buying a policy which leaves them almost no extra cash to live on or taking the risk and using the emergency room for the worst case problems.

    We need to do better as a nation, and the private sector should be able to provide cash and risk management options for working class families that make sense.

    • #26
    • June 9, 2016, at 12:44 AM PDT
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  27. The Reticulator Member

    TKC1101: Strip all the politically correct crap out,

    This isn’t always a matter of political correctness so much as a response to powerful, well-connected constituencies that want the service they provide to be covered. Think of the mental health care industry, which has been trying since day 1 to get its services included under regular medical care plans.

    • #27
    • June 9, 2016, at 1:50 AM PDT
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  28. Chris Campion Coolidge

    Douglas:

    Marion Evans:It would be easy to bring costs down:

    1- allow insurance companies to compete everywhere.

    2- tort law reform.

    3- increase deductibles so the insured can’t use health services on an all-you-can-eat basis as they do now. There has to be a negotiation between patient and doctor.

    Those things would definitely help, and bring costs down, but there are problems inherent with medical insurance that you don’t get with, say, car insurance. With car insurance, if you’re a good driver (and a little lucky, i.e. some drunk doesn’t rear-end you at the Mall), then costs are fairly steady. But you replace your car ever 5-10 years (most people, anyway), so maintenance costs are steady. You don’t get a new human body every 5 years. So you’re guaranteed to have ever-increasing medical expenses, as everyone is going to have a medical problem of some kind. And the older you get, the worse (and more expensive) things will get. This is why any kind of medical insurance scheme… private or nationalized… has to involve the young and healthy subsidizing the old and not healthy. If it doesn’t, then you have a case of medical costs becoming catastrophic for the old. Unless we just start taking older people out to the field and putting them down like a lame horse (Europe is headed this way), then they have to be subsidized by young earnings or general taxation.

    They already are subsidized by the cost shift. That’s one reason why insurance premiums have gone up so much – more people taking advantage of the government’s “single-payer”, that doesn’t reimburse at cost, so state regulatory boards are forced to approve higher private insurance premiums to make up the difference, or doctors, and hospitals, will start running in the red.

    As for me, I’m taking my big Obamacare insurance premium savings I was promised by a guy who really knows what he’s talking about, and buying a big plasma TV.

    • #28
    • June 9, 2016, at 4:00 AM PDT
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  29. Blondie Thatcher

    DocJay:

    Many poorish folks are foregoing needed procedures because of high deductibles so I get to deal with more bleeding because of it. This has been bleeding week. One vaginal who needs a hysterectomy but can’t afford the deductible but had now worked out a payment plan because the fatigue and pain got so bad. The other is now in hospital getting transfused but should have had his scopes done months ago but couldn’t afford them but now will get them tonight or tomorrow ( and at far more expense and inconvenience to the medical system) because he’s pooping road tar. Both folks barely above Medicaid levels

    Before my neck surgery I wrote I think 6600 dollars worth of checks for deductible. Last year my deductible prior to shoulder surgery was about 3 K. Same policy, higher price by far, double deductible and less benefits.

    You are so right, DocJay. Our surgery numbers have gone down since the ACA has been around. The patients we get ready for surgery now tend to be sicker than they used to be. I’m not going to lay all the blame for that at Obamacare, but he gets some of it. I have the skyrocketing premiums and deductibles discussion on a daily basis with patients and families.

    • #29
    • June 9, 2016, at 4:45 AM PDT
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  30. Fricosis Guy Listener

    The healthcare/insurance complex has just about bled the host dry. Full single-payer will seem like a relief.

    • #30
    • June 9, 2016, at 5:12 AM PDT
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