The enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, began this week, and one thing became immediately clear to those who rely on this method of health care: it's getting a lot more expensive.
The average hike in premiums nationwide is about 25 percent, but it's much higher in some places. In
If nothing else, this is a clarion call for the next
A completely transparent, market-driven system would provide the best outcomes, but the legislative path to such a thing is daunting.
However, the act itself - passed without any Republican votes or the benefit of either compromises or deliberation - seems to defy market realities. Its goal is to provide all Americans with some form of health insurance, not to control spiraling costs, and the consequences of such an approach are painfully apparent.
A main reason why premiums are rising is that major health carriers have dropped out, leaving consumers with few choices.
The act was supposed to guard against this by forcing everyone either to acquire health insurance (through an employer-sponsored plan or a free-market exchange) or pay a fine. The
However, the fine is miniscule compared to the premiums of available plans -
Government subsidies are available for most enrollees. These, of course, come at a cost to all taxpayers.
One of the law's more popular provisions is that it makes it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. But this comes with a cost, too. Lengthy enrollment periods allow people recently diagnosed with serious illnesses to sign up for coverage.
We're not suggesting the answer to all of this is for the government to increase the tax on the uninsured or to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. But some insurers suggest tightening the enrollment period and loosening restrictions, particularly when it comes to writing low-cost, bare-bones plans that would appeal to young people.
Credit: By Inouropinion For the