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May 03, 2015

Open Thread - We <3 Obamacare Edition [Weirddave]

I dunno how many of y'all saw this, or even realized it's significance if you did, but last week it was announced that Assurant is selling or closing its health insurance business.

With nearly 1 million customers, Assurant Health provides a broad array of insurance coverage to individuals, families and small employers including major medical, short-term and supplemental plans. The company expects Assurant Health to report a net operating loss for the quarter in the range of $80 million to $90 million. Approximately half of the loss is attributable to a reduction in 2014 estimated recoveries from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk mitigation programs. The remainder reflects elevated claims on 2015 ACA policies.

Not to get all inside baseball here, but this is kind of a big deal. Assurant is a major carrier, a Fortune 500 company, and they can't financially survive in the environment that the PPACA (Pee Pee Ca Ca) establishes. Moreover, they were the premier carrier offering short term health insurance across most of the country, short term coverage is often crucial for bridging gaps in coverage until the next Obamacare open enrollment. For many Americans, that's now gone. There is a company out of Texas which is still an option for people in 38 states, their business philosophy for the past few years has been “Obamacare sucks, we're just going to offer old fashioned, non ACA compliant plans. Yea, you'll have to pay the fine, but you'll be insured and it'll still cost less than Leviathan”. They're going great guns, but other than that, there's not much. UHC and HCC offer some short term plans in limited markets, and I suppose there are a few others, but Assurant was the 800lb gorilla of the short term market, covering 41 states, and now...poof!

The takeaway from this, the canary in the coalmine, is that a Fortune 500 insurance company, one that's been around since the 19th century, tried to play within ACA rules and utterly failed. There's going to be more of this. Major carriers are currently protected from loss by the risk corridor guarantees in the ACA (to simplify mightily, the Feds are covering their losses for the first 3 years), but that goes away by 2017, and we are going to see rate spikes and contracting networks that will make today seem like the good old days. Gonna see more companies fail, too. Isn't that a nice inauguration gift JEF's leaving for his successor?

And what will be the response from the left? “This isn't working! The free-market failed! (Never mind that it did no such thing) We need single-payor!”. And if Hildabeast, or Lieawatha, or Tommy Carcetti or the Catamount Communist or any other Dem is elected President, we'll get it too.

As was the plan all along.

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posted by Open Blogger at 06:29 PM

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