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September 25 2013

More on the ObamaCare Numbers: No Way to Spin Them

Patrice J. Lee

How many ways can you slice a bad deal? Let’s count them.

The numbers are out today on just how much it’s going to cost Americans who purchase Obamacare. The Administration is making the rounds to explain what good a deal it will be, but good luck to them in trying to spin what will be higher rates and less preferred care for many Americans.

Just how will some demographics be hit? New analysis of the numbers release by Health and Human Services reveals the reality of the situation for Americans will vary by age, gender, state/region, and that the differences will be stark.

First, Obamacare will increase insurance rates for women by an average of 55% or more and 97% for men:

Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men.

Second, for young people it’s three times as bad:

27-year-olds will face rate increases as high as 279 percent
many 27-year-olds will face steep increases in the underlying cost of individually-purchased insurance under Obamacare. For the states where we have data—the 36 reported by HHS, plus nine others that we had compiled for our map that HHS didn’t report—rates will go up for men by an average of 97 percent; for women, 55 percent. (In the few cases where HHS reported on states that our map includes, we went with HHS’ numbers.)

Worst off was Nebraska, where the difference between the cheapest plan under the old system and under Obamacare was 279 percent for men, and 227 percent for women: more than triple the old rate. Faring best was Colorado, where rates will decline for both 27-year-old men and women by 36 percent. The only other state to see a rate decline in this analysis was New Hampshire: 8 percent for both men and women.

And for those who are 40 (no longer “young” but nowhere close to retirement age) it’s just bad:

40-year-olds will face rate increases as high as 305 percent

… The cheapest exchange plan for the average enrollee, compared to what a 40-year-old would pay today, will cost an average of 99 percent more for men, and 62 percent for women.

For this cohort, men fared worst in North Carolina, with rate increases of 305 percent. Women got hammered in Nebraska, where rates will increase by a national high of 237 percent. Again, Colorado and New Hampshire fared best, with 17 percent and 5-8 percent declines, respectively.

Are your eyes dropping out of their sockets yet? Well, this will be even worse. A top HHS bureaucrat calls these new prices are “affordable” :

"The prices are affordable," said Gary Cohen, a top regulator at the Department of Health and Human Services. "Because of the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance that people will be buying will actually cover them in the case of them getting sick. It doesn't make sense to compare just the number the person was paying, you have to compare the value people are getting," Mr. Cohen added.

In what world is he living? And will Americans swallow this claim? It’s likely that more sick people will be able to qualify for healthcare coverage and that healthcare providers are required to cover more services under their plans. However, people also consider other things when choosing among their healthcare plans such as the networks of doctors and hospitals available to them. The quality of service, how services are delivered and by whom are just as important to some people as the services they receive. How many people choose to go to private hospitals over public hospitals because they are less crowded and the doctors are more readily available?

An important drawback of Obamacare is that state exchanges often feature narrower networks so your family doctor may not make the cut. Furthermore, imagine the challenges of searching for doctors and hospitals that do qualify and then fighting through the waiting room lines and climbing the waitlist of new patients once you do find a doctor.

The proof will be in the pudding, and the pudding will be served in less than a week from now when exchanges go live, but the signs just grow more ominous for what Obamacare will mean for our healthcare, our pockets, our job market and our economy.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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