As the 2015 ObamaCare open-enrollment period approaches, the Obama administration wants to make it easy for individuals to re-enroll in their plans for next year. But the current proposal could be devastating for the budgets of many American families.
The Wall Street Journal provides some insight into what the Obama administration is planning:
First, the administration released proposed regulations regarding reenrollment for 2015. As some expected, the regulations confirmed that insurance exchanges would reenroll individuals in their existing plans if enrollees remain eligible for qualified health plans through the exchange and the plan in which they were enrolled remains available for renewal.
The same day, consultants at Avalere Health released an analysis showing that most low-cost plans have proposed sizable rate increases for 2015.
The federal government has an interest in making it easy for enrollees to stay enrolled: they view high enrollment as a key sign of success for the health care law and the continued problems with Healthcare.gov (and various state exchanges) have become an ongoing PR crisis for the White House. A significant dip in enrollment in 2015 would be a political liability and would perhaps destabilize the program even more — the Obama Administration desperately needs insurers to renew individual plans as painlessly as possible.
But Washington, in its classic short-sighted fashion, doesn’t realize that this ObamaCare renewal system could pose a potentially massive problem for many Americans. So far, ten states have submitted their proposed 2015 ObamaCare rates. The Wall Street Journal found that “In all but one of them, the largest health insurer in the state is proposing to increase premiums between 8.5% and 22.8% for next year.” Avalere Health predicted that an enrollee in Maryland may see out-of-pocket increases of as much as 62 percent.
These are massive increases in expenditures for enrollees and — unlike the federal government — citizens can’t just print more money. Automatic re-enrollment in these plans without advance knowledge of the coming rate spike will be devastating to the budgets of many families. Unfortunately, it’s simply another reminder that the “Affordable Care Act” is far from affordable and fails to deliver the financial security that President Obama promised.