Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Survey Shows How Obamacare Is Making Things Worse

Lost in all the publicity surrounding the two-year anniversary of Obamacare and the Supreme Court arguments regarding same was an interesting study revealing once again how the 2700-page law has fallen short.  The annual Towers Watson survey of health plans, released last month, again showed how the law is harming millions of Americans this year, and causing more employers to think about dropping coverage in the future:

Higher Costs:  Costs per employee will rise by $682 this year – imposing new costs on struggling businesses and families alike.  Costs would have risen even higher, but for the fact that employers also increased cost-sharing and made other plan changes.

Higher Premiums:  The employee share of premium costs will go up by 9.4%.  Recall that candidate Obama promised repeatedly that premiums would go DOWN by $2,500 per family under his plan.

Higher Cost-Sharing:  Out-of-pocket expenses for employees increased from 16% to 18%, and the total employee cost share (premiums plus out-of-pocket costs) also rose, from 33.2% to 34.4%.

Higher Regulatory Burden:  More than one in seven (15%) employers listed the cost of compliance and regulatory burdens under Obamacare as one of the biggest challenges to maintaining affordable coverage.

Lower Hours for Workers:  “Nearly 40% of companies that traditionally use a high number of part-time workers expect to limit them to less than 30 hours per week by 2014 to escape having to pay benefits.”

Employers Dumping Coverage, Part I:  Fewer than one in four (23%) employers said they are very confident they will continue to offer health benefits for the next ten years – that’s a drop of a whopping fifty points from the 73% number who planned to keep offering coverage five years ago.

Employers Dumping Coverage, Part II:  More than two in five (42%) employers are at least somewhat likely to direct part-time and temporary workers into Exchanges.

Employers Dumping Coverage, Part III:  More than two in five (41%) employers are at least somewhat likely to “structure [employer health insurance] contributions to facilitate availability of federal subsidies in the Exchange for low-wage earners.”

Employers Dumping Coverage, Part IV:  A majority (53%) of employers plan to eliminate retiree drug coverage by 2014 or 2015, sending their retirees into taxpayer-funded plans instead.

The results of the Towers Watson survey once again illustrate how Obamacare has failed to control costs, produced new and costly mandates for businesses, and thereby encouraged firms to dump their health coverage once Exchanges come online in 2014.  In short, the unpopular law has made things worse for millions of struggling Americans.