The weak insurer participation has narrowed consumer choice and continued the premium-hike for 2017. Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed the recent data set published by healthcare.gov (data.healthcare.gov); consumer selection and premium hikes are disturbing. Enrollee choice, for three or more insurers, dropped by 48% from 2016 to 2017. Mostly this was driven from the withdrawal of multiple insurers from the Exchanges and the winding down of the ACA’s reinsurance program. Several insurers have decided not to play the game of healthcare marketplace lottery where the odds have not been favorable. Unfortunate, consumers are still playing weighing the benefit.
Purchasing insurance for yourself and your family is reasonable. That is unless you literally can’t afford it. Time recently reported that eight states are increased premiums more than 30 percent on average: Alabama (36 percent), Georgia (32 percent), Illinois (44 percent), Minnesota (50 to 67 percent), Nebraska (35 percent), Oklahoma (76 percent), Pennsylvania (33 percent), and Tennessee (44 to 62 percent). Enrollment will slow for 2017 over 2016, considering the obscene premium hikes across the country. The 2017 premium hikes quickly remind Americans of the option to pay the individual shared responsibility payment.
This penalty or individual mandate fee is $695 per adult or $347.50 per child under 18 (with caps) or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is higher. This fee is paid for every month you, your spouse, or your tax dependents don’t have qualifying health coverage. There is also a “short gap” exemption that broadly allows for two months without qualifying coverage. It’s a sad day when Americans are comparing their healthcare premiums to the penalty alternative.
What is the cost of your healthcare? You probably recalled your monthly premium, primarily employer funded, thinking, “it’s overpriced but manageable.” The 12.7 million people that have signed up for Obamacare didn’t have that option. To calculate the full effect of these outrageous premium hikes, imagine for a minute that you lost your employer coverage – it gets real, quickly.