Higher Premiums Now, Higher Premiums Later
As we’ve previously reported, the main take-away from the Kaiser survey of employer-sponsored coverage is that premiums rose this year by an average $672 per family – and more than $3,000 since Barack Obama was elected in 2008. Worse yet, a look at other elements of the survey demonstrates that many Americans will be affected by even higher premiums when all of Obamacare’s mandates take effect:
- Eight percent of covered workers face a waiting period of four or more months (Exhibit 3.8, p. 60) to qualify for employer health coverage. But the law specifies that employers must shorten waiting periods to no more than 90 days. These workers will face premium increases thanks to Obamacare.
- Approximately one in seven (14%) covered workers – and more than one in four (27%) covered workers in small firms – have single deductibles of $2,000 or more (Exhibit 7.6, p. 117). But the law caps deductibles for a single policy at $2,000. These workers will face premium increases thanks to Obamacare.
- A majority (51%) of workers in high deductible health plans have family plan deductibles of over $2,000 (Exhibit 8.8, p. 160). But the law caps single plan deductibles at $2,000 per year. These workers will face premium increases thanks to Obamacare.
- More than two in five (42%) workers in high deductible health plans have family plan deductibles of over $4,000 (Exhibit 8.10, p. 162). But the law caps family plan deductibles at $4,000 per year. These workers will face premium increases thanks to Obamacare.
- More than one in eight covered workers (13%) are in plans with no annual out-of-pocket maximum (Exhibit 7.29, p. 140). But the law prohibits annual limitation on cost-sharing above a government-defined threshold. These workers will face premium increases thanks to Obamacare.
All these workers will face premium increases as a direct result of provisions in Obamacare. And that assumes that workers will get to keep their coverage at all. For the nearly one in five (19%) workers in high-deductible plans, Secretary Sebelius and HHS will publish regulations that hold the potential for many, if not most, high-deductible plans to be considered NOT “government-approved.” And given that premiums in high-deductible and consumer-driven health plans were more than $2,000 cheaper than the average PPO insurance policy, according to the Kaiser study, a finding by the Administration that these plans are not “government-approved” will result in millions more Americans BOTH losing their current coverage AND being forced to purchase even more expensive insurance.
Democrats will claim that today’s higher premiums are an anomaly. But looking at the survey data, and analyzing the provisions of the law, it becomes obvious that when it comes to skyrocketing premiums thanks to Obamacare, you ain’t seen nothing yet.