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The Effect of Obamacare on Health Insurance Costs

December 1, 2014

It’s the reenrollment period for the Obamacare plans. Estimates before Obamacare was created on its effects on costs were all over the map. Some pundits thought costs would come down; some pundits but costs would go up.

The early returns are in, but as might be expected, the findings are all over the map. They range from an article in Bloomberg news that predicted they would rise 6% in 2015. An estimate published in the Washington Post said the average would go up by 10%. A report in the Washington Times estimated that for younger people in the age range of 23 to 30, the cost might increase up to 78%.

One note of explanation: the highest amounts are based on the actual cost of the insurance. They don’t include government subsidies, which are applied to people earning less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Another issue that pundits debate is how much the initial charges levied by insurance companies are from them lowballing their prices to gain market share.

It’s probably too soon to tell exactly what’s going to happen with Obamacare costs. However I think it’s safe to the say that the pundits predicting Obamacare would bring down the cost of health insurance were wrong. There are lots of politics left to play out in this journey. A Supreme Court decision on the legality of federal health insurance plans and its subsidies is pending. But the bigger issue is that we still have the same dysfunctional healthcare system we had before and after Obamacare.

Only when we are willing to disrupt the status quo will we even begin to achieve value for the healthcare dollar that the rest of the world enjoys. Obamacare just does not come close to achieving this.


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4 Responses to The Effect of Obamacare on Health Insurance Costs

  1. R Watkins on December 2, 2014 at 10:46 am

    “the bigger issue is that we still have the same dysfunctional healthcare system we had before and after Obamacare.”

    And the AAFP went all out carrying water for almost three years to help get this passed because . . . ?

    • Richard Young MD on December 2, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      I guess politics are complicated. The new Health is Primary document still does not adequately explain who we are and what we do that is so valuable. I wish our public statements were less watered down by marketing firms.

      • R Watkins on December 5, 2014 at 7:14 am

        Like most of what the AAFP does, the intent of the “Health is Primary” campaign seems confused and unfocused. Every family doc I know has more than enough patients asking for medical care. The problem is that we don’t get paid for 90% of what we do, and I don’t see how this campaign does anything to improve that. Why should we be trying to drum up more business when we’re already overwhelmed?

  2. Tracie Updike MD on December 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    My Family practice is in Port Arthur and I have about 50 patients with BCBS that is Obama-care and none of the specialist will see any of these patients.

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