Mandate Delay Aside, Obamacare Plans Are Shockingly Unaffordable For Many

Healthcare.govPresident Obama moved the goalposts a tad,
promising that the individual mandate won’t be enforced against
people who missed the Obamacare enrollment deadline because the
federal health care website is a poorly designed, worse-implemented
piece of garbage. How that wee bit of mercy will be done remains a
mystery, as Peter Suderman,
points out
, but good intentions and all that. Don’t get your
hopes up for swelling ranks of enrollees, though. USA
ran the numbers and found that, in much of the country,
Obamacare plans are so expensive that many people who make too much
to qualify for subsidies are exempt from requirements that they
purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

For USA Today, Jayne O’Donnell and Paul Overberg


More than half of the counties in 34 states using the federal
health insurance exchange lack even a bronze plan that’s affordable
— by the government’s own definition — for 40-year-old couples who
make just a little too much for financial assistance, a USA TODAY
analysis shows.

Many of these counties are in rural, less populous areas that
already had limited choice and pricey plans, but many others are
heavily populated, such as Bergen County, N.J., and Philadelphia
and Milwaukee counties.

More than a third don’t offer an affordable plan in the four
tiers of coverage known as bronze, silver, gold or platinum for
people buying individual plans who are 50 or older and ineligible
for subsidies.

Those making more than 400% of the federal poverty limit —
$47,780 for an individual or $61,496 for a couple — are ineligible
for subsidies to buy insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, you’re exempt from requirements
that you purchase insurance if “The lowest-priced coverage
available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income,”
according to
. This is a less than ideal situation, because
many of these people might actually want coverage that has now been
priced beyond their reach. That means, continue O’Donnell and
Overberg, “the analysis clearly shows how the sticker shock hitting
many in the middle class, including the self-employed and early
retirees, isn’t just a perception problem. The lack of counties
with affordable plans means many middle-class people will either
opt out of insurance or pay too much to buy it.”

This situation comes about because, as health industry expert
Kip Piper says, “The ACA was
not designed to reduce costs or, the law’s name notwithstanding, to
make health insurance coverage affordable for the vast majority of
Americans. The law uses taxpayer dollars to lower costs for the
low-income uninsured but it also increases costs overall and shifts
costs within the marketplace.”

This is not a new revelation, by the way. In 2010, the Heritage
Foundation’s Joshua Wade

Obamacare will succeed only at shifting the burden to taxpayers
and the privately insured.  Americans with private health
insurance will indirectly subsidize care received by those reliant
on Medicare and Medicaid. It is for this reason that for many
Americans, Obamacare will actually cause medical costs to rise.


Perhaps it’s just as well. Those folks priced out of health
coverage would have had a
hell of a time getting in to see a doctor
with one of the
exchange plans, anyway.

from Hit & Run

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