75 percent of Obamacare enrollees forced to pay higher premiums, says Cleveland Clinic

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obamacare premiums, ACA, healthcare reform

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(NaturalNews) The head of the Cleveland Clinic said during a recent interview that three-quarters of new Obamacare enrollees are being forced to pay higher health insurance premiums, despite President Obama's long-overdue promise that most Americans would see their premiums fall under the law.

In discussing healthcare costs and coverage during an interview with Fox News' Maria Bartiromo on her "Sunday Morning Futures" program, CEO Toby Cosgrove and the host both agreed that more coverage is better. But there are concerns about costs, as well, he said.

"Well, people who have signed up about three-quarters of them find that their premiums are higher than they had been previously under other insurance," he said. "Now, what we do know is it's going to have a major effect upon healthcare providers. We know, for example, that we're going to get paid less for what we do. Medicare is taking about $415 billion out of Medicare expenses over the next 10 years. So, hospitals are going to be paid less for what they do."

Cosgrove also said that insurers are going to be compensating hospitals less and less as well, meaning that hospitals and health care providers will have to become much more efficient.

Premiums are going up, up, up

One of the many broken promises the president made regarding his signature legislation was that the law would result in an average of $2,500 in savings for Americans; quite the opposite has happened.

According to independent exchange site eHealthInsurance, premiums have risen more post-Obamacare than they rose in the previous eight years before the law - combined.

The site - which acts as a sort of insurance broker, offering plans from a variety of insurance companies at many levels of coverage and cost - reports that premiums have gone up 39 percent since February 2013 alone. That means for someone who earns too much to qualify for a taxpayer-financed subsidy, the average individual premium is now $274 a month. Families have been hit even worse; the average price for family coverage has risen 56 percent over the same period to a cost of about $663 per month, up from $426 last year.

"Between 2005 and 2013, average premiums for individual plans increased 37 percent and average family premiums were upped 31 percent. So they have risen faster under Obamacare than in the previous eight years," reports the Daily Caller, in analyzing the eHealthInsurance statistics.

It's important to note that eHealth's prices don't include subsidies, so prices for someone who earns between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will see lower costs. As a "selling point," the Department of Health and Human Services has continually claimed that some enrollees will only pay as little as $18 a month, but of course the department's officials don't ever mention that the bulk of those premiums will be borne by taxpayers.

Costs are rising, compensation is falling, and access will be harder to come by

There are a number of reasons why premiums are increasing, but analysts note that the most common reason is the minimum coverage standards required by the law. These are the administration's highly acclaimed "essential health benefits," and insurers must provide them as basic packages (which is driving up costs because the "essentials" are much more than the average person wants - like maternity coverage for single males).

In addition, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs like co-pays are skyrocketing. And even if you have an employer-provided plan, you're not safe; four out of five U.S. companies have either increased their deductibles or are considering it.

Meanwhile, there will be substantial cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals, Cosgrove noted in his interview. That will mean fewer services for more patients - as hospitals look to trim costs wherever possible.

Initially that doesn't sound like a bad idea - having hospitals run more efficiently - but many factors influence costs in hospitals that have nothing to do with "greed" and everything to do with government mandates and medical practices meant to stave off lawsuits.

All of this is adding up to tens of millions of Americans deciding to forego coverage and pay the "fine" (tax) next year (though that "tax" will begin to increase every year after that to a percentage of income).

Sources for this article include:

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