Thursday, October 27, 2016

Insurance

You probably all have seen the headline about the double digit increase in ACA polices and how they say that Obamacare is a disaster, CNN reported
The HHS report documents what has already been widely reported -- that after two years of moderate premium increases (2% for 2015 and 7.5% for 2016) premiums are going up sharply for 2017. Across the 39 states using the HealthCare.gov platform, the median second-lowest cost silver plan, which sets the benchmark for premium tax credits, will increase 16%, while the average increase looking only at states on the federal exchange is 25%.

Opinion columnists and politicians will undoubtedly seize on the report as further evidence that the Affordable Care Act is a failure. But a deeper dig reveals a different story.
But lets a closer look… ABC 10, KXTV in California says,
Most Americans won't be affected by Obamacare premium increase

Health care may pinch a little more out of your wallet in 2017- but it likely won't be a problem for the majority of Americans.

Obamacare health plan premiums are expected to increase by 22 percent on average, according a U.S. Department of Human Health and Services (HHS) report released Monday.
[…]
But for many, the price hikes will be relieved by federal subsidies, since 84 percent of Obamacare purchases receive financial aid, according to the report.

The marketplace also offers tax credits for majority of people who enroll in Obamacare, which also helps cover premium costs so many under the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) will see minimal rate increases.
Hmm…. So most of the increase offset by tax credits.

What about non-ACA health plans?

The Connecticut News Junkie reported that here in Connecticut the non-Obamacare insurance companies requested these rate increases: Aetna Life 25.8% to 31.5%, Cigna -10.4% to 17.1%, CT Care 26.1%, and Golden Rule 23.8% to 36.2% So it is not just Obamacare but all health insurance policies premiums have risen!

It is the cost of meds that I think is driving the cost increases, insulin which was first used in 1921 and the price has steadily been dropping until 5 - 7 years ago and now it has increased over 300%!
Exclusive: Makers took big price increases on widely used U.S. drugs
Reuters
By Caroline Humer
August 5, 2016
Major drug companies took hefty price increases in the U.S., in some cases more than doubling listed charges, for widely used medications over the past five years, a Reuters analysis of proprietary data found.

Prices for four of the nation's top 10 drugs increased more than 100 percent since 2011, Reuters found. Six others went up more than 50 percent. Together, the price increases on drugs for arthritis, high cholesterol, asthma and other common problems added billions in costs for consumers, employers and government health programs.

Extraordinary price hikes by two small companies, Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO), drew new attention to drug costs. Turing expected to book $200 million by raising the price of Daraprim, an antiparasitic used for a rare infection, by 5,000 percent, according to company documents released by Congressional investigators.

Routine price increases by bigger players may draw less attention, but they add up. Sales for the top 10 drugs went up 44 percent to $54 billion in 2014, from 2011, even though prescriptions for the medications dropped 22 percent, according to IMS Health data.

At the top of the list was AbbVie Inc (ABBV.N), which raised the price of arthritis drug Humira more than 126 percent, Reuters found. Next were Amgen Inc (AMGN.O) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA), which raised prices for arthritis treatment Enbrel and multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone by 118 percent.
The New York Times compares health care around the world and guess where we stand?
 First and foremost, Obamacare was about improving access to health care. While it did improve access to insurance, in many, many other ways the United States is falling short. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Even with Obamacare, the United States still ranks poorly among comparable countries in insurance coverage. Even in 2016, when the rate of insured is the best it has ever been in the United States, Americans still have a greater percent of the population uninsured than pretty much any other industrialized nation in the world.
[…]
The biggest access problem in the United States is the expense of obtaining care. More than one third of Americans said they did not fill a prescription they were given, did not visit the doctor they should have or did not get the tests that were ordered because of the cost.
[…]
Perhaps most telling, when adults were asked about their views of the health care system in 2013, 75 percent of Americans said that it needed fundamental change, or that it needed to be completely rebuilt. This percentage was higher than for any other country surveyed, Canada included. Primary care physicians feel similarly. Yet years after the Affordable Care Act was passed, Americans are still litigating whether to return to the previous system.

Access was a problem before. Access is a problem now. Americans can’t seem to have a discussion on how to make that better. Without that, it’s hard to see how things will improve.
Also consider this…
Who Bears the Cost of the Uninsured? Nonprofit Hospitals.When governments do not provide health insurance, hospitals must provide it instead.Kellogg Insight
Based on the research of Craig Garthwaite, Tal Gross and Matthew J. Notowidigdo
June 22, 2015

[...]
But in new research—based on decades of previously confidential data—Kellogg School assistant professor of strategy Craig Garthwaite and his coauthors find that when the population of uninsured Americans increases, hospitals end up bearing the cost by providing uncompensated care. In fact, their results suggest that each additional uninsured person costs local hospitals $900 per year.

That means hospitals are effectively serving as “insurers of last resort” within the American healthcare sector by providing care to uninsured patients who cannot afford to pay their medical bills. “People are still going to the emergency room,” Garthwaite says, “and they are still receiving treatment—so the cost is still there. When governments do not provide health insurance, hospitals must effectively provide it instead.”
We need a single payer health insurance now!



Update Oct.28, 2016 6:00 PM


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