Anthem Inc., a top seller of Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans in 14 states, has announced its intention to leave Obamacare in Ohio. It cited uncertainty about payments meant to subsidize reduced premium plans as the reason for its departure and has hinted that it could exit the Obamacare markets in other states next year for the same reason. In doing so, Anthem becomes part of a growing list of insurance companies that have left Obamacare.
Republicans in Congress and President Trump still disagree on the details of repealing and replacing Obamacare, which creates uncertainty at a time when insurers are submitting their plans and premium rates for 2018. Based on insurance companies that have already submitted the required information for Obamacare, premium rates could increase by as much as 60% in 2018 and possibly increase even more.
— CNN (@CNN) June 6, 2017
“Congressional action is required to ensure stability,” Ohio Department of Insurance spokesman Chris Brock said of the issue. Ohio’s Department of Insurance is currently looking at options for the 10,500 people in Ohio who will be left uninsured by Anthem’s decision.
Others weren’t so positive that any decisions made by the Ohio Department of Insurance would have much of an impact. Humana and Aetna have already departed Ohio’s Obamacare platform and the unpredictable subsidy payments have been a major reason for the departure of most insurance companies who decided to leave. States and the federal government could perhaps solve part of the problem by showing better consideration for insurance companies’ need for cash flow, but it’s obvious that any confidence that insurance company decision-makers had in the Affordable Care Act has already vanished.
Ohio Department of Insurance is trying to find ways to make sure all counties have at least one ACA insurer. https://t.co/rAYZHV8aoN
— SteveKoff (@SteveKoff) June 6, 2017
“States can beg and plead, but much of this is out of their hands,” said Larry Levitt, health economist at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Repeal And Replace With A Plan That Works
Congress and President Trump have both had trouble working toward a solution that both meets campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare and fixes the difficulties that have plagued the Affordable Care Act. Many users of the Obamacare website may remember the frustration of a system that just plain did not work. This was a stark symbol of a government program that is failing.
Senate is trying to ram through Obamacare repeal with:
0 hours of debate
All behind closed doorshttps://t.co/nUVzgNTyNz
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 6, 2017
The entire point of insurance is to spread the risk across many users, including those who are low-risk customers who don’t smoke, don’t drink heavily, and try to stay fit. However, the car insurance requirements that most states have worked because there isn’t a government bureaucracy sitting between the customer and the insurance company. Neither do many people argue about the necessity of requiring car insurance except maybe to quibble about the cost because it’s understood that liability is an issue and the actions of each driver could impact other drivers on the road.
Neither are safe drivers necessarily forced to subsidize the unsafe drivers. It’s understood that if a driver is careless and keeps causing wrecks, his insurance rates are going to go up because he represents a high risk to the insurance company. However, under Obamacare, health insurance rates are skyrocketing even for people who are relatively healthy and likely to remain that way. Obamacare is essentially not keeping its promise that the cost of insurance premiums would be kept, well, affordable to most people.
— Obamacare (@Obamacare) May 19, 2017
That means Congress and the White House should work together to create a plan that works rather than try to create what would amount to a questionable patch that may or may not work. That plan might still include ditching Obamacare altogether. It might mean dumping the elements in Obamacare that just plain aren’t working and are causing insurance companies like Anthem to dump their participation in the platform. Past attempts have proven that this is not something that can be rushed. However, repealing and replacing Obamacare is something that should be done so that people aren’t losing their insurance simply because insurance companies no longer wish to participate.
“Show them a body”: Senate Republicans prepared to take a failed vote on Obamacare repeal https://t.co/3aM9ax7hCs
— Vox (@voxdotcom) June 6, 2017