“This Is Absolutely Crazy”: Obamacare Signups Start As Americans Increasingly Balk At Surging Premiums

by | Nov 2, 2017 | Headline News | 42 comments

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    This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

    medicine-money

    After years of surging premiums and deductibles, will 2018 finally be the year that America’s middle class throws in the towel and brings the whole scheme crashing down?

    While we won’t know the answer to that question for at least a couple of months, one thing is certain…if it happens it will most definitely be the result of the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the legislation and not the culmination of years of soaring costs that has rendered healthcare unaffordable for most American families. Well, at least that’s the The Wall Street Journal‘s assessment of the situation:

    Consumers will begin signing up Wednesday to take part in the Affordable Care Act next year, kicking off a crucial six-week stretch that could test the law’s durability amid Republican leaders’ continuing desire to see it repealed.

    This year’s annual open-enrollment period, the fifth in the ACA’s history, faces more uncertainty than previous years, since the Trump administration has opted to cut the sign-up period by half and pull back $116 million that had been designated for advertising and outreach.

    Health analysts widely expect the number of people who purchase insurance through the law’s exchanges to dwindle as a result, fueling a partisan debate over whether the Obama-era law is sinking of its own accord or being undercut by the administration’s actions.

    About 12 million people selected or were re-enrolled in the exchanges last year, with about 10.3 million of those actually paying premiums and obtaining coverage in 2017. Analysts expect the number of sign-ups to fall by at least one million during this open-enrollment period, which extends from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

    Of course, as Bloomberg crisply demonstrated by highlighting the health insurance experience of Richard Taylor, Obamacare’s surging premiums had already rendered the product completely unobtainable for a broad swath of the American middle class long before Trump moved into the White House. As Bloomberg notes, Taylor is one of the unfortunate Americans who makes too much money to qualify for subsidies but is self-employed and thus forced to purchase insurance on the private exchange.

    For some lower-income people in Obamacare, the rising premiums President Donald Trump has talked so much about will barely be felt at all. Others, particularly those with higher incomes, will feel the sharp increases when insurance sign-ups begin Wednesday.

    Richard Taylor is one of the people on the wrong end. The 61-year-old, self-employed Oklahoman has meticulously tracked his medical costs since 1994. In 2013, he signed up for an Affordable Care Act plan for the law’s first year offering coverage to millions of Americans.

    Four years ago, annual premiums for a mid-level “silver” plan to cover his family totaled $10,072.44. For 2017, they were $21,392.40—up 112 percent.

    “This is crazy. This is absolutely crazy,” Taylor said. “All I’m waiting on is to get on Medicare.”

    Alas, fixing a broken system is hardly the concern of Washington D.C. politicians who will inevitably continue to ignore the consequences of a failed piece of legislation and focus instead on clever media attack ads and tweets designed to make sure the blame falls on the opposite party.

    Democrats complain that President Donald Trump’s actions are prompting the very problems Republicans cite as evidence of the law’s failure. “In the end, if Republicans can tank open enrollment, they can get more momentum to try repeal again,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of protect Our Care, a Democratic advocacy group.

    The Trump administration has pared funds for publicizing the open-enrollment dates and for paying on-the-ground assisters who help people shop for coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services also plans to take down the law’s main website, healthcare.gov, from midnight to noon on nearly every Sunday of the sign-up period.

    Advocates also say the ACA’s online window-shopping tool, which allows customers to compare plans ahead of open enrollment, has been malfunctioning, sowing further confusion. Federal health officials have acknowledged the issues.

    For those who missed it, before you rush out to buy your Obamacare plan today you should probably take a peak at the preview below of how much your premiums are going to increase in 2018…

    * * *

    A new study conducted by Avalere and released earlier today found that Obamacare rates will surge an average of 34% across the country in 2018. Of course, this is in addition to the 113% average premium increase from 2013 and 2017which brings the total 5-year increase to a staggering 185%.

    Meanwhile, and to our complete shock no less, Avalere would like for you to know that the rate increases are almost entirely due to the Trump administration’s “failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions”…which is a completely reasonable guess if you’re willing to ignore the fact that 2018 premium increases are roughly in-line with the 29% constantly annualized growth rates experienced over the past 4 years before Trump ever moved into the White House…but that’s just math so who cares?

    New analysis from Avalere finds that the 2018 exchange market will see silver premiums rise by an average of 34%. According to Avalere’s analysis of filings from Healthcare.gov states, exchange premiums for the most popular type of exchange plan (silver) will be 34% higher, on average, compared to last year.

    “Plans are raising premiums in 2018 to account for market uncertainty and the federal government’s failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president at Avalere. “These premium increases may allow insurers to remain in the market and enrollees in all regions to have access to coverage.”

    Avalere experts attribute premium increases to a number of factors, including elimination of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, lower than anticipated enrollment in the marketplace, limited insurer participation, insufficient action by the government to reimburse plans that cover higher cost enrollees (e.g., via risk corridors), and general volatility around the policies governing the exchanges. The vast majority of exchange enrollees are subsidized and can avoid premium increases, if they select the lowest or second lowest cost silver plan in their region. However, some unsubsidized consumers who pay the full premium cost may choose not to enroll for 2018 due to premium increases.

    Of course, not all residents are treated equally when it comes to premium hikes.  So far, Iowa is winning the award for greatest percentage increase at 69%, with Wyoming, Utah and Virginia close behind.

    On an absolute basis, Wyoming wins with the average 50 year old expected to drop nearly $1,200 per month (or roughly the cost of a mortgage) on health insurance premiums.

    So what say you? Have we finally reached the tipping point where enough full-paying Obamacare customers will simply forego insurance that they can no longer afford and cause the whole system to come crashing down?

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      42 Comments

      1. Concerned-Citizen!

        Thanks to all the god damned fools that voted for Barry Hussein O’Banana, not just for 4 years but 8 LONG, horrible, painful years. WTF were you mental-midgets really thinking? My God…

        • JayJay

          Seriously? It wouldn’t have mattered who was placed in office. This was planned decades ago.
          Oshithead isn’t important enough to even blame.

        • Zlatko

          What a lying propagandist you are. The Affordable Care Act has been and is being sabotaged by the Republican party, that’s why premiums are going up, the WSJ is absolutely correct.
          Do you go into a store and break merchandise and them complain about defective merchandise? It’s the same thing. Republicans broke the ACA, refused to cooperate with providing affordable care for Americans, because they are in the pockets of their wealthy donors. Free your mind, you ass should follow.

          • The Deplorable Braveheart

            Zlatko, uh, have you been living under a rock? The ACA was failing even before your hero Obama’s first term as POTUS was over. Even before Trump ever announced he was running for POTUS. People are not going to sacrifice anything else they do to have overpriced health coverage and I don’t blame them. And don’t try to feed me that BS about it being mandatory. They can shove their freakin mandate. This is socialized medicine, plain and simple, which was never intended to work anyway. We need to go back to what we had before. So go back to sleep in mommy’s basement.

          • TheGuy

            You fucking idiot… no one’s “breaking merchandise” and bitching about it. When you have to FORCE healthy people, under pain of unconstitutional financial penalty… to pay for other people’s free shit IT’S ALREADY FUCKING BROKEN BY DESIGN, Chairman Mao.

          • kfilly

            Zlatko,

            You are a moron. Jonathan Gruber, who was the architect of Obamacare, said Obamacare passed because the American voters are stupid. You can type that into a YouTube search and watch Jonathan Gruber speak highly of you.

            PS-Mr. Gruber was fired from his prestigous university post for take a guess…….corruption.

            • The Deplorable Braveheart

              Kfilly, Jonathan Gruber is also a POS chew.

              • The Deplorable Braveheart

                Zlatko is a libturd dickhead.

          • POA

            Congratulations. You have written the least accurate, most ignorant comment I have read on the internet today.

            Take your own advice and free your mind.

          • Archivist

            It is not the government’s job to provide healthcare. It’s unconstitutional.

            If Trump is the cause of higher prices, why were the prices rising when Obama was in office?

            The ACA was designed to fail and cause ignorant people like you to call for single payer. The government wants to control everything. When they do, we lose.

      2. Jim in Va.

        Investigate Obama since he promised you could keep your plan,your doctor and premiums would drop by 2,500 bucks. I heard it,you heard it,everybody heard it. String his ass up!

      3. aljamo

        Who can afford to get sick? That is your healthcare in the age of money only matters. Obscene gouging with no end in sight without breaking so much as a sweat. The medical leeches only know how to deal toxic chemical death.

        • madtxn

          that is why YOU have to take care of yourself. eat good, exercise and do not ingest any big pHARMa poison. the docs are just dope dealers for big pHARMa as lazy, fat, addicted amerikans just take a pill to alleviate the symptom only to take another to counter the side effect of the first. docs are just like slime ball attorneys, once the problem is solved, no more $$

      4. Darkwing

        The best part is that congress and the Trump admin do not give a GD about the American people. They have their free health care and are to chicken shit to repeal ACA, BTW they promise to repeal the ACA if elected, they lied, all of them

        • get used to disappointment

          curious, why has there never been any attempt by anyone in any state to gather signatures and place on the ballot for public vote, an amendment that states all elected offices must forego any salary or healthcare coverage as a mark of their dedication to public service, anyone, anyone? —crickets–

        • The Deplorable Braveheart

          Darkwing, I know the Obama supporters don’t care but Trump does. He’s facing too much opposition from the libturds and RINOs to get anything done.

      5. Nailbanger

        First big problem i saw,
        They should not need to advertize nor promote a healthcare signup.

        • madtxn

          just like big pHARMa advertising, your doc should be the only one discussing their poison and your consumption.

        • Yahooie

          Remember when ACA was first launched? They had to continually extend the initial sign-up period because there weren’t enough enrollees to make it even close to viable. Since then, the enrollment periods has been rather long.

          Under an employer sponsored plan, you have 6-8 weeks to make up your mind or you have to wait for next year’s enrollment period. I’ve also noticed that all the employer offered plans are just about the same now; only the price differs.

      6. get used to disappointment

        I expect soon that abandoning any medical coverage and going for the paying cash route will cause LIFE Insurance carriers to cancel your policy based on the fact that refusing to pay (outrageous) sums of money for healthcare coverage deems you suicidal and therefore ineligible for life insurance coverage.

        • Yahooie

          As much as health insurance now costs, a person might as well just save that amount in their own insurance fund with a savings account. By the time they might need it, they can just pull out the funds needed. If not, in a few years the funds (or part of them) could be invested in some manner to produce revenue vice just making insurance companies rich.

      7. SLEDMAN

        FUGGED BY THOSE YOU VOTED FOR…..REAP WHAT YOU SEW.

      8. SLEDMAN

        FUGGED BY THOSE YOU VOTED FOR. YOU BELIEVED THE LIES FROM BOTH SIDES……….AMERICA IS NOW AMERIKA

      9. Heartless

        When the hell are we going to take this country back? I mean it. It’s time. I’d say start by overloading the health-care system with all those in office needing emergency care …. however that might be accomplished. There aren’t any of them I’d bet are have clean hands or motives. Nothing more than infectious bloated pus-filled sores upon this land. Lance them, cauterize them, excise them all.

        • madtxn

          couldn’t agree more. hemp rope and tree limbs decorated with all of the traitors for the holidays down every main street.

      10. aljamo

        Insurance companies, what a swindle! Insurance companies, do they ever lower you rates? Hyper inflation by the cherry pickers. The poor need not apply. Side effects include moving into the poorhouse, lifelong non healing and your money or your life reality. Ask your “doctor”. Sure everybody has a doctor.

      11. TEST

        Health sharing plans. Please google it if you are stuck.

        We use Liberty Health Share, and LOVE it. COBRA was $1k/mo., we get IDENTICAL coverage for $300/mo. There are other vendors – Smaritans, Christian Healthshare, Medishare, some others. Check it out. Most are Christian based, but a few focus on the liberty issue.

        I slept thru jr. high math, but even I, myself, can do that kind of math!

        For the life of me, I have NO idea why people aren’t flocking to these plans in droves. We have been on Liberty for ~ 4 years, with ZERO problems, including using it for an emergency room visit less than one week after joining.

        • Yahooie

          I think people fear the unknown so they deal with the devil they know.

          Also, these plans are not widely advertised so people may not know of the existence of this type of plan. Here in the DC area, I’ve heard Medishare being advertised on drive-time radio but none of the others.

      12. Scottalan of the family Jones

        the real opt-out https://www.petition2congress.com/ctas/declare-individual-sovereignty

        A Declaration of Individual Sovereignty

        Be it known that I, _______________________, the undersigned, do hereby declare myself to be a sovereign individual under the provisions of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America and that I reserve for myself all the rights and powers conferred upon the People of the United States of America by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which states
        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
        nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
        or to the people.
        Recognizing that both the Federal Government of the United States of America and the governments of the several States derive their just powers to govern from the consent and will of the People, and that the People may reserve the right to throw off the bonds of servitude and oppression of a tyrannical government, as per the guarantees made in the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights, it is the incumbent duty of all the People to declare such tyrannical governments null and void according to the provisions and limitations imposed upon those governments by the Constitution of the United States of America and to either seek to establish a new and just government in adherence to the Constitution of the United States of America or, if that has become no longer possible, to declare themselves, each one, an individual sovereign entity beholden to no governance save for their own.
        In accordance with these aims and purposes as stated herein, I hereby and herewith declare myself to be free of any and all governance by either the Federal Government or any of the several States of the United States of America and I hereby and herewith reserve and reclaim all the rights enumerated by the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights, as well as all natural rights not enumerated by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, such as they are recognized to be inherent conditions of human existence. These rights shall include, but are in no way limited to the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well as the right to keep and bear arms, which shall be construed to mean any and all types of weaponry that may be necessary, in defense of my life, liberty and property from all aggressors whoever they may be.

        Signed ______________________________ this ______ day of ______, 20___

        • StarFire

          Many of us paid into the system while working.
          We’d like to get what we paid for.

        • grandee

          that’s just gonna get ya into trouble.

          • Anonymous

            It won’t make a damn bit of difference. You’ll never get to use it and they won’t be able to get any money because we’ll all be dead from a major earthquake according to the story right below this one. LMAO!

          • TheGuy

            Yes it is.

            Isn’t that sad? Think about it.

      13. TheGuy

        If Trump de-funds guys coming to your door and putting a fucking gun to your head to buy this shit sandwich… would you say it is… or is not… “failing of its own accord”?

        Think hard.

      14. TheGuy

        the rate increases are almost entirely due to the Trump administration’s “failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions”

        In other words TAX US.

        In other words we’re still paying for it.

        Except they call it “grandma’s peach tea”.

      15. POA

        The Declaration of Independence says GOD Endowed Us with Rights.
        To secure the Rights GOD gave us, WE The People ordained and established
        The Constitution for the United States of America
        Wherein WE Created the Federal Government:
        An Alliance of Sovereign States associated together in a Federation for the
        limited purposes enumerated in The Constitution.
        Federal government of 3 branches
        (legislative, executive, judicial):
        1. Has lawful power only over these objects
        (for the Country at large):
        External:
         International trade & diplomacy
         War national defense
         Make Treaties, but only on objects authorized
        by Constitution!
        Internal:
         Establish uniform commercial system:
        o weights & measures
        o patents & copyrights
        o money system (gold & silver)
        o bankruptcy laws
        o mail delivery & road building
         Laws on naturalization & immigration
         Certain civil rights (in the Amendments)
         Make & enforce only a few criminal laws
         Federal courts for specific purposes only
         Miscellaneous housekeeping: census, etc.
         May borrow money & levy taxes, but only for
        purposes authorized by Constitution!
        2. God given Rights secured by federal govt:
         Life (military, pirates, traitors, secure borders)
         Property rights: honest money, weights &
        measures, patents & copyrights, bankruptcy law
         Limited & enumerated powers secure right to
        be left alone!
         Fair trials in federal courts (e.g., Dt 1:16-17;
        Dt 19:15-20 & Mt18:16; Ex 18:13-26; dont
        bear false witness) (5th – 8th Amendments)
        The States and The People:
        1. Retain all powers except those few delegated
        exclusively to federal govt or prohibited to the States
        (Art. I, ß 10):
         Federalist Paper No. 45 (3rd para from end) by
        James Madison, Father of our Constitution:
        The powers delegated by the proposed
        Constitution to the federal government are few
        and defined. Those which are to remain in the
        State governments are numerous and indefinite.
        The former will be exercised principally on
        external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and
        foreign commerce the powers reserved to the
        several States will extend to all the objects which
        concern the lives, liberties, and properties of
        the people, and the internal order and prosperity
        of the State.
         Tenth Amendment.
        2. State govts secure rights God demands that govts
        honor (e.g., fair trials) & protect us from those who
        seek to deprive us of God-given rights in Bible. E.g.,
         Our Right to Life (prosecute murderers, ban
        abortion, euthanasia, drunk driving; quarantines
        for dangerous diseases, etc.)
         Sanctity of our persons (prosecute rapists,
        muggers, kidnappers, child molesters)
         Our property rights (prosecute robbers; punish
        negligence, fraud, & breach of contract; courts
        available for dispute resolution.)
        The federal govt. & State govts. have different spheres of operation. The federal govt. is supreme only in those
        few & enumerated objects delegated exclusively to it. The States and The People retain supremacy in all other
        matters. When the federal govt. usurps powers retained by the States or The People, it becomes unlawful &
        illegitimate: Nullification is proper.

        There is nothing whatsoever in the US Constitution delegating to Congress the power to regulate or provide your healthcare. It is NOT a proper function of government.

      16. Archivist

        The biggest cause of the high cost of insurance is the fact that people are wanting insurance to pay for too much. Insurance shouldn’t be paying for routine office visits for example.

        Car insurance would be astronomical if everyone expected it to pay for inspections, oil changes, etc.

        Insurance also separates the consumers from the providers, so there is no incentive for the providers to lower costs. Without the insurance on ordinary healthcare, the providers would have to actually compete with each other on price as well as level of service. Consumers would be able to shop around for the best deal.

        This would also work for medicine.

        When I was younger, my parents would take me to the doctor. His office had just him and one nurse. There was no office staff doing paperwork, as there was no paperwork. When my visit was over, my father would pull out a $5 or $10 bill and pay the doctor himself. The doctor would pull out his billfold and stuff the money into it. That was the end of the transaction, and there was no paperwork except for a handwritten receipt and perhaps a prescription.

        Now, my doctor’s office has a dozen or more people working there, and there’s tons of paperwork. I have to pay $40 up front just for the copay.

        It’s the same with my medicine. Back in 1972, I could get an asthma inhaler for $10, total cost. Now I have to pay $47 just for the copay. The inhalers shouldn’t be costing more than $20 or $30 total price now.

        Insurance has to change, and peoples’ expectations of insurance have to change, or prices will keep rising.

        • Yahooie

          I’m facing that inhaler problem right now since I’m “between positions” with no health insurance. The inhaler I need is $394.00 with a Good Rx coupon. I have a few other sticker shock prices for prescriptions as well although that’s the biggest one. However, it’s all far cheaper than COBRA even for one person.

          Isn’t that a sad image of our health care system?

          It has made me even more determined to work on improving my health. I’ve even found articles on how to reverse dental problems naturally. (No, not in one of those infomercials on TV or the internet where all these ‘secrets’ are yours for $39.95 in six monthly payments.) Much of health has to do with proper food consumption and exercise. I know I’m preaching to the choir here but I’m reminding myself as well.

      17. oUCH

        Just remember.. the Republicans promised, all of them, to cancel this abomination just as soon as the had the house, senate and WH. Did they ? The only difference between Republicans and Dems is apparently, the Republicans are better liars. Solution… TERM LIMITS. Let em get a real job.

      18. oUCH

        Quoting a long-haired Christian folk singer from the early 80’s… Larry Norman.. ” the politicians all make speeches, while the newsmen all take notes. And they exaggerate the issues as they shove them down our throats. Is it really up to them whether this country sinks or floats ? Well I wonder, who would lead us, if none of us would vote ? ”

        Dang near 35 – 40 years.. taint a lot changed..

      19. The Dinosaur

        All anyone needs to remember is that this is DEMOCRAT legislation, passed by ALL DEMOCRATS, without a single REPUBLICAN VOTE! Yet people keep voting DEMOCRAT. Maybe they get what they deserve?

      20. madtxn

        for profit medicine, just what the investors want. it isn’t about health, it is about $$$$$. insurance takes 20% off the top for pushing paper. investors buy old medicine patents, lock up distribution and jack prices to the moon. the only reform will be medicare/medicade/va for all. doctors need to push health instead of big pHARMa dope. most ailments can be CURED with diet and exercise, but pushing big pHARMa poison is easier for everybody, for the short expensive term.

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