Sweeping premium increases impacts 2017 open enrollment

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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.

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Peter is a healthcare business and technology executive, recognized for Digital Innovation by CIO 100, MIT Sloan, Computerworld, and the Project Management Institute. As Managing Director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CXO advisory services practice driving digital strategies.

Peter was honored as an MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award Finalist in 2015 and is a regular contributor to CIO.com on innovation. As Head of Information Technology, Peter was responsible for Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange’s (HIX) industry-leading digital platform transforming consumerism and retail oriented services for the health insurance industry. Peter championed the Connecticut marketplace digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile application recognized as a 2014 PMI Project of the Year Award finalist, CIO 100, and awards for best digital services, API, and platform. He also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation, honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.

Peter has a B.S. in C.I.S from Bentley University and an MBA from Quinnipiac University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He earned his PMP® in 2001 and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP) and Certified Scrum Master. As a Commercial Rated Aviation Pilot and Master Scuba Diver, Peter understands first hand, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.