Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Deductibles in Obamacare Exchanges Violating Obamacare, So What's New?

If You Like Your Deductible, You Can Keep Your Deductible (in Some States)
The ACA ... capped deductibles for small group health insurance plans at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families. However, the Department of Health & Human Services announced in February 2013 that these deductible limits could be waived in situations where a limit prevented a health plan from meeting its ratio of insurance payments to enrollee out-of-pocket costs under the ACA.  [This was simply another example of PPACA's unworkability.  In response, federal regulators waived their magic wands and nullified, via illegal line-item vetoes, the portions they realized they could not practically enforce without massive political losses.]  
“As the implementation of the Affordable Care Act gets progressively modified, we are finding a variety of downstream consequences for consumers," said Kev Coleman, Head of Research and Data at HealthPocket, "In the case of the small group market, the conditional waiver has allowed the deductible for Bronze plans to average over twice the amount of the original deductible limit." 
... Using government data on this year's small group health plans from 32 states, HealthPocket analyzed the average out-of-pocket costs for the major health plan types and then determined what percentage of plans, if any, exceeded the original deductible limit for the small group market. For individual enrollees in small group health plans, HealthPocket found that 35 percent of the plans studied had deductibles that exceeded the ACA limits. When analyzed by plan type, HealthPocket found:
  • 96 percent of Bronze plans had deductibles over the $2,000 cap,
  • 28 percent of Silver plans had deductibles over the $2,000 cap,
  • 6 percent of Gold plans had deductibles over the $2,000 cap, and
  • 0 percent of Platinum plans had deductibles over the $2,000 cap.
When examining deductibles for families, similar results were found with respect to the percentage of plans that exceeded the $4,000 family deductible cap.

Strictly enforcing the deductible caps for small group health plans could have substantially narrowed the inventory of health plans in the SHOP Exchange, according to the study. For the Bronze tier in particular, fewer than 4 percent of 2014 plans would have satisfied the ACA’s deductible caps for individual as well as family enrollees.