Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Premiums Going Up Again. Now What?
ObamaCare Premiums Going Up. Again. Now What?
Megan McArdle,  title of Bloomberg article,  June 24, 2016
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Intimations of Immorality
President Obama has made no secret he wishes ObamaCare to be his immortal domestic legacy,   with its lowering of premium costs and Americans keeping doctors and health plan of their choice, as regulated by government.
But after persistent premium rises projected to soar 10% or more in 2017,  after 8% spikes  in 2016,  with outbursts of 20% to 50%  expected in some state markets,  his dream may not be realized.  Now what?
How Now and What Now?
As the elocution teachers might ask, “How now, brown cow?” or as Shakespeare might add, “If it be now, ‘tis not to come; it be not to come, it will be now; it if be not now,  yet it will come. Or as the Queen in  Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass might proclaim, “ Now! Now!”.
Where Goes the Glory and the Dream
Is something is not done quickly to contain premium  costs, when associated with unaffordable deductions, co-pays, and out-of-pocket costs  where will the glory and the dream of President Obama’s  health care legacy be?
Now What
As Megan McArdle points out in her excellent Bloomberg article  “ObamaCare Premiums Going Up. Again. Now What!” there are caveats .  State regulators might not approve premium hikes. 
Regulators  don’t like insurers going of business or leaving markets either,  leaving  insurance customers high and dry without insurance. 
Maybe  insurers will only ask for modest rate rises and will wait for health exchange markets to stabilize.  
Maybe  insurers  will swallow losses  as their  patriotic duty.
Maybe the feds will keep cutting checks to protect risk corridors and keep insurers in business. Or maybe customers will drop coverage and bear the risk themselves or get coverage through concierge or cash only practices, or retail outlets,  or treat themselves after scanning  the Internet cloud for the latest and greatest home remedies. 
Maybe the young and healthy will reverse course and enroll in health exchange plans , stopping the adverse insurance death spiral in its tracks.   
Maybe, just maybe, insurers will find a magic price at which customers can afford and at which insurers can make a profit.   God only knows, which will be which.  Government, insurers, and customers do not yet know the end of this bewhiching tale.   
Maybe is a  word of fate which conveys the thought that what will  come will come.