Why Health-Insurance Rates Increasing and Policyholders Losing Coverage in WA

Two promises of ObamaCare are proving to be false in Washington state, says a leading think tank. 

June 6, 2013-

Hundreds of thousands of Washington state residents – individual policyholders and small group insurance members – are learning two promises of ObamaCare are false.

They won’t be able to keep the same coverage they had before passage of the controversial Affordable Care Act (ACA), and their rates are increasing.

“It is estimated that potentially 650,000 Washingtonians now covered in the individual and small group insurance markets will be forced to change their plans,” said Dr. Roger Stark, the Washington Policy Center (WPC) health care analyst, in June 2013. “These consumers will receive a notice from their insurance company that the law now forbids them from keeping their existing plans.

“They will be presented with a menu of allowable insurance plan options,” he added. “Their deductibles and benefits will change, most likely in the upward direction. Unfortunately, people’s choices will be sharply limited, with less innovation and choices.”

Depending on the provisos in their ACA plan, the WPC analyst says their out-of-pocket costs will range from zero to a 70 percent increase.

Conflicting reports – confusion

He said conflicting news-media reports on comparing health insurance plans have led to confusion among patients: “You must read carefully but you’ll find the media comparisons are based on erroneous assumptions – apples to oranges examples.”

Previously, healthcare insurance was regulated by Washington state’s insurance commissioner. Coverage and premium rates were created by the insurance companies, and subject to state approval. Once approved, any premium increase could be monitored. They were either approved or denied.

But now, it’s a different ballgame. The government, including the Internal Revenue Service, is assuming control.

But the ObamaCare shell game is not confusing all his supporters — even a union now demands “repeal or complete reform” of ObamaCare

Insurance companies are required to provide qualified health plans subject to approval by the state insurance commissioner and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

All of this is mired in thousands of pages in new regulations.

So, if you’re enrolled in an individual plan, you’ll have to learn whether you get to keep your coverage. The WPC analyst predicts you’ll pay a 5 to 10 percent increase.

However, if you have to switch plans, you’ll have to compare benefits between the old and new coverage.

If you want more benefits as some required by ObamaCare, you’ll pay a premium increase.

More exorbitant costs

ObamaCare requires you buy IRS-monitored health insurance for $4,500 or pay a $700 tax.

Insurance companies will be required to sell coverage to any person – no matter what the pre-existing condition is. That has unfortunate consequences for the majority.

“Many young and healthy people will wait until they are sick or injured to buy insurance,” says Dr. Stark. “People who are responsible and purchase insurance before they become sick will find their premiums skyrocketing, as they are forced to pay the health costs of those who wait to buy coverage.”

WPC (www.washingtonpolicy.org) is an authoritative think tank based in Seattle with satellite offices in the Olympia and Spokane.

From the Coach’s Corner, related articles:

“You know we’re going to control the insurance companies.”

-Joe Biden


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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.