I made a comment on the Forbes article, “In Ohio, Obamacare to Increase Individual Insurance Premiums by 55-85%”, which reflects my objections to Obamacare as health care reform. The amount of cost attributed to “benefit expansion” in the article surprised me. I read the report last year and forgot that “benefit expansion” was a polite way to describe the additional benefits the chronically sick will get via a “Silver” plan that will reduce their out of pocket expenses.
As a person who purchases individual health insurance in Ohio and who read the Milliman report, there are a couple of issues I should highlight.
1. Ohio is one of those states in which the individual health insurance market costs considerably less than the small business or group insurance plans. My “bronze” plan through Aetna costs only $4188 per year. Compared to rates in large plans my plan is where real health care reform should be going. I would like to keep my plan just the way it is but Obamacare won’t let me.
2. The two major drivers of the individual health insurance cost increase, “benefit expansion” and “risk pool composition changes”, only benefit the “un-insureables”. I did not find any benefit expansion for the healthy in the report that my existing plan does not already have. By forcing the “un-insureables” onto the smallest market segment the individual health insurance purchasers will bear a disproportionate share of health care costs for the un-insuredables. The likely consequence of the rate increases, is that the healthy will leave the individual insurance market and rates will continue to spiral upward for those remaining in the market until the market ceases to exist. The obvious solution is that we should spread society’s obligation to care for the chronically sick over the entire population. The individual mandate was a really dumb idea for how we should pay for the chronically sick.
3. Health care reform does not exist until we can show that we have slowed down the increases in health care costs.