By Eric Pianin
November 16, 2015
First, the administration revealed that enrollments for Obamacare next year will barely hit 10 million, far below previous projections.
Then last week, the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company estimated that premiums for policies under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were going up substantially in 2016. For instance, the median rate increase for the lowest priced, highly popular “Silver” plan will rise by 11 percent – compared to just a seven percent increase in 2015.
Now there are troubling reports that consumers will be facing soaring out-of-pocket costs for deductibles next year – increases that in many cases will neutralize the benefits of their health care plans or discourage some from purchasing coverage.
“That these deductibles are so high is clearly one of the reasons people aren’t buying a plan—they simply don’t see themselves getting anything for the money,” Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy & Strategy Associates, a business and policy consultant, said in a newsletter on Monday.
Department of Health and Human Services officials insist that there are still plenty of plans available with low premiums for those willing to aggressively shop on the federal and state operated insurance exchanges. Americans have until the end of the year to enroll for the third season of Obamacare. But even in cases where consumers find good deals on premiums, they are likely to be stung on the back end by requirements to pay sizeable out of pocket costs before their Obamacare coverage actually kicks in.
The average annual out-of-pocket costs per worker increased nearly 230 percent between 2006 and 2015, according to an annual survey of employer health benefits coverage by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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