Thursday, September 5, 2013

Different Premiums in Different States
 I dare say that I have worked off my fundamental formula on you that the chief aim of man is to frame general propositions and that no general proposition is worth a damn.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935)
Like most health reform watchers,  I tend to over generalize – that Obamacare has too many adverse consequences,  that it represents a  government intrusion or takeover,  that it is too costly and bureaucratic, that it disrupts established norms and practices too much, that it interferes with doctor-patient relationships.

Generalization has its hazards but you have to stand for something, and generalizing is the easiest way to show where you stand. 
Some of these general observations may be true, but you have  to also understand the particulars of what is going on that may conflict  with your point of view.  The reality is that Obamacare effects so many different people in so many different ways in so many different age groups with so many different kinds of coverage with so many different twists, turns, delays, and waivers  in so many different places at so many different times over so long a time period that one cannot generalize. 
An Example
Take the example of health plan premiums in individual and small group markets.  Some Obamacare opponents generalize by saying  premium costs in these markets are set to explode.  But is this true for all states and all markets?  Will Obamacare cause  universal “rate shock,”with unaffordable spikes in premiums?   Or, will it actually lower premiums in some states ?  Will it have a negligible effect?  
The answer is "all of the above."   It depends on which state you’re talking about.  It depends on the level of that state’s current premiums and how it regulates its insurance markets. 
Avik Roy, using data assembled at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank,  clearly lays out the facts in a September 4 issue in Forbes “Interactive Map: in 13 States Plus DC, Obamacare Will Increase Premiums by 24%, on Average.”  Data is not yet available on how Obamacare might effect premiums in 37 states. The key phrase here is "On Average." Some rates will rise, some will fall..
Here is what Avik Roy found.
Likely Premium Increases (+) or Decreases (-) after Obamacare – Effects in Different States for Different Age Groups
States and Age Groups 27, 40, and 64

1.      WA, +54%, +29%, +37%

2.       OR, +54%, + 29%, + 30%

3.      CA, + 23%, +1%, -5%

4.      S.D, +147%, +90%, +79%

5.      C0, -36%, -34%, -33%

6.      NM, +146%, +99%, +159%

7.      OH, -3%, -22%, -43%

8.      VA, 67%, 38%, -19%

9.      NY, -27%, -27%, -27%

10. VT, +133%, +104%, +55%

11. CT, 98%, 89%, +29%

12. RI, 2%, -11%, -1%

13. ME, -80%, -78%, -55%

14. DC,  +25%, +18%, +51%

Roy makes these observations from  his data:   Young people (+43%), older men (+20%). and older women (+27%) will be the hardest hit.   All of these states and DC, with the exception of South Dakota, voted for President Obama.

He concludes with this paragraph.

“ If you’re in one of the high-cost states that will see premium decreases under Obamacare, count yourself lucky. But if you’re among the many who will see rates go up, you will have a decision to make. Should you sign up for health insurance that is more expensive than your coverage today? Or should you drop out of the market and pay the fine? That, my friends, is the 2-trillion-dollar question.”

Tweet:   On average, Obamacare will cause premium increases of 24% in 13 states and DC, but in Colorado, Ohio, Maine, and NY premiums will do down.




No comments: