June 25 2014
Older Women Hit With Highest ObamaCare Costs
Carrie L. Lukas
Remember how women were supposed to be the big winners from ObamaCare? The government’s prohibition on insurers from taking into account gender and health status when setting premiums, along with all the free contraception and preventative care, was supposed to make the new system a windfall for women.
That was always a stretch, as YG Network’s April Ponnuru and I wrote about here. Women have always tended to manage their families’ doctor relationships and as ObamaCare is encouraging more restrictive provider networks, that task just got a lot more complicated for millions of women.
Yet as the Washington Post reports, new research shows that women between the ages of 55 and 64 are also likely to be hit the hardest by the increased health care costs created by ObamaCare:
What Mark Pauly, Scott Harrington, and Adam Leive of the Wharton School have done is to figure out how much non-elderly individuals spent on insurance before the ACA and then compared these figures with what they’ll spend after the ACA. They did this by using survey data for 2010 through 2012 from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey that show how much people spent on health care, including premiums and out of pocket payments. By looking at the total spent rather than just on premiums, the data reflect the fact that someone who buys a policy with a low premium can expect to have higher out of pocket costs, and vice versa. They report their findings in a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
For post-ACA prices, they looked at the premiums for the various levels of coverage (these levels are classified according to various metals: bronze, silver, gold and platinum) and estimated out of pocket payments according to data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The data were tabulated by age and gender for the bronze and the two lowest price silver plans.
After crunching the numbers, they found that people who buy the bronze or silver plans on the federal exchanges will spend a moderate amount more — from $694 to $1,165 a year, or 14 to 24 percent — on premiums and out of pocket expenses than they did before the health reform took effect.
However, that average figure masks a huge redistribution of the costs to older women from nearly everyone else.
Total expected premiums and out of pocket expenses rose by 50 percent for women age 55 to 64 — a much larger increase than for any other group — for policies on the federal exchanges relative to prices that individuals who bought individual insurance before health care reform went into effect.
Women age 55 to 64 will pay from $2,185 to $2,738 more in premiums and out of pocket expenses under the new health insurance environment than they did pre-ACA.
Women never really bought the line about ObamaCare being able to costless shower free goodies on everyone, increase insurance coverage, lower health care spending, all without compromising access to quality care. Especially women in this age group have been around enough to recognize a fairytale when they hear one.
Yet they might be surprised to learn just how heavily it is they—not those young, invincible men we heard so much about during sign up season—who will be bearing the brunt of ObamaCare’s higher costs.
Women be warned, this won’t be the last bad news about the effects of this law that will be making headlines.