As the nation heads pell-mell down the road toward implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, the number of warning signs over its impact are also sliding by, at a faster pace.
Many raise the unanswered question: Affordable for whom?
Not for young individuals buying insurance on their own, that’s for sure, judging by the reports coming in from several states.
Despite assurances from Democrats that the national health care plan will drive down health care costs, the evidence is increasingly telling the opposite tale.
In Colorado, for instance, insurance companies just submitted plans to the state that show group insurance costs will rise from 13 percent to 30 percent, but individual insurance costs could go up from 60 percent to 120 percent.
Similarly, in Ohio, the average individual-market health insurance premium is now projected at about $420 per month next year — up 88 percent from this year’s rates.
And California? The land of moonbeams lived up to its flaky reputation last month when Peter Lee, the director of the state insurance exchange, trumpeted statistics that he said showed Calfornia’s rates next year for small employer plans would range from 2 percent above to 29 percent below the current market.
“This is a home run for consumers in every region of California,” Lee crowed. “These rates are well below the worst-case gloom and doom scenarios we have heard.”
Home run? More like a foul ball. Conservative economist Avik Roy looked at California’s numbers and quickly called them on it. Roy said California was comparing apples to oranges — looking at the individual market and comparing it to small-employer group plans which have already been subjected to regulations similar to those of the ACA.
When Roy did an apples to apples comparison of the rates, he found that a typical 25-year-old California man will be paying 64 percent to 117 percent more than under the five cheapest policies sold in the state today.
That’s more than double in some cases.
As we get closer and closer to 2014, we expect individuals and small businesses in particular will be finding to their dismay that — for them, at least — the “Affordable” Care Act’s title is a misnomer that will prove very costly.