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February 14, 2014

ObamaCare Payment Rates Lagging So Hey, Maybe We Need Another Level Of Plan!

Still no hard numbers but insurers are starting to talk and the numbers don't bode well for the system.

Fully one-fifth of the new enrollment numbers that HHS has been waving around are bogus. Their target for the end of January was 4.4 million sign-ups; a few days ago, they told the country they’d made it three-quarters of the way there with 3.3 million. In reality, once the deadbeats are bounced from the rolls by their new insurers, they’ll be in the ballpark of 2.6 million, or 60 percent of their target. And that’s after HHS pressured insurers to extend the payment deadline from December 31 into January, hoping that a little more time for slackers would pad the enrollment figures even more.

But even that 20% non-payment rate maybe low. Some insurers are saying the non-payment rate for their plans are 25% to 30% range.

Of course the answer to a failure of massive government is more government!

Now, some insurers and a pair of Senate Democrats are trying to change the law permanently so that individuals and small businesses can buy so-called copper plans. The plans likely would have lower premiums, but purchasers would pay more of their ordinary health costs upfront. Greater coverage would kick in for serious, unforeseen health episodes that would require, for example, a hospital stay.

Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Warner of Virginia, both Democrats facing close re-election races this year, are sponsoring legislation that would allow people to buy copper plans on the exchanges. Moreover, insurance-industry officials have been talking up the idea with federal officials, though it is unclear whether the administration could make the change through regulations.

The White House said it was weighing the proposal. "The president remains open to all ideas that would genuinely improve the Affordable Care Act and appreciates the careful thought Mr. Begich has given to his legislation," an administration official said.

So what this amounts to is bringing back catastrophic plans. You know the ones the Democrats spent weeks calling "bad apple" and "junk" insurance.

Naturally the people that would be most drawn to these "low cost" programs would be the young invincibles that ObamaCare desperately needs to make this whole scheme work. So what happens if this passed and these young and healthy people start paying significantly less in premiums than the expected ammount to keep the whole thing afloat?

Yeah.

The interesting question is, if Harry Reid agreed to this would the GOP support it? On one hand, it would help people who are getting screwed with the worst of both worlds now, high premiums and high deductibles. But it would kill the GOP's "we oppose ObamaCare" talking point heading into the election. What would be the political cost to the GOP for not helping these people?

Both sides have to be looking at "reforming" ObamaCare as a dangerous political high-wire act. Democrats might be in trouble whether or not they act but at least acting would have the benefit of putting the GOP in a tough spot.

I bet Reid goes for this soon. Sure it will skew the long term viability of the program but that's a medium term issue. Keeping the Senate majority is a right now problem.

It'll be interesting to see what the GOP does if the ball is dropped into their court.

Most likely outcome? King Barack I will just decree these plans into existence. Because...shut up serf.


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posted by DrewM. at 12:02 PM

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