If you like your Obamacare plan, you can keep it. But you’ll have to pay up to 20 percent more.
That was the news dumped out by the White House on a Friday, so hopefully few would see it, just hours before the 2015 marketplace opened.
According to the New York Times, those who bought plans last year face stiff price increases unless they shop around and switch. And even some who shop for better deals won’t help their situation much:
An analysis of the data by The New York Times suggests that although consumers will often be able to find new health plans with prices comparable to those they now pay, the situation varies greatly from state to state and even among counties in the same state.
“Consumers should shop around,” said Marilyn B. Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal insurance exchange serving three dozen states. “With new options available this year, they’re likely to find a better deal.” She asserted that the data showed that “the Affordable Care Act is working.”
Only an elitist denizen of Washington’s ruling class could blithely assert that consumers should simply “shop around.” Changing health insurance after just a year is a serious inconvenience, and even a danger as patients lose good doctors they’ve learned to trust.
The Times outlines the obvious problem:
The new data means that many of the seven million people who have bought insurance through federal and state exchanges will have to change to different health plans if they want to avoid paying more — an inconvenience for consumers just becoming accustomed to their coverage
In employer-sponsored health plans, employees tend to stay with the same insurer from year to year. But for consumers in the public insurance exchanges, that will often be a mistake, experts said.
Different health plans often have different networks of doctors and hospitals and cover different drugs, meaning that consumers who change plans may have to pay more for the same medicines.
Another problem for consumers is that if the price for a low-cost benchmark plan in the area has dropped, the amount of federal subsidies provided by the law could be less, meaning that consumers may have to pay more unless they switch plans.
The Affordable Care Act seems to become less affordable for people every year. But then, when it comes to Obamacare, we’re used to false promises, delivered by leaders who figured we were stupid.