Young, healthy individuals are not going to sign up for a bill of goods that does not meet their health needs, according to one congressman opposed to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Figures released this week reveal that premiums for individuals on the exchanges have increased by an average of 25 percent across the country.
To encourage enrollment, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a campaign to attract younger people to sign up to the exchanges.
However, this is not going to happen, according to U.S. Rep. John Fleming, a Republican from Louisiana.
“Young, healthy individuals are simply not going to sign up for a bill of goods that doesn’t meet their health needs and is prohibitively expensive,” Fleming told Patient Daily. “Premiums under Obamacare are expected to jump an average of 25 percent next year. While this is certainly sticker shock to American buyers, it’s not surprising. Obamacare’s flawed design guaranteed it. Obamacare completely destabilized care for millions of Americans. It’s time to replace Obamacare and not put Band-Aids on this hemorrhaging health care experiment.”
The administration hopes that the campaign to attract younger people to sign up to the exchanges will help balance the pool within the exchanges, adding more healthier people and thereby bringing down premiums.
When announcing the average increases across the country, the department also said that most consumers are eligible for financial assistance.
“Thanks to financial assistance, most marketplace consumers this year will find plan options with premiums between $50 and $100 per month,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. “Millions of uninsured Americans qualify for financial assistance, and so could as many as 2.5 million Americans currently paying full price for off-marketplace coverage.”
This view is echoed by independent advocacy groups campaigning to reduce the number of uninsured, now less than 10 percent of the population.
“The message is about financial assistance and the availability of financial assistance to get really good, comprehensive coverage,” Elizabeth Hagan, senior policy analyst at Families USA, told Morning Consult.
Insurance companies are pulling out of exchanges across the country, leaving some one in five individuals who are not insured through their employer with just one plan in their area.
When pulling out, companies argue that it is not possible to make money; most claim to be losing substantial amounts.
In addition, two programs aimed at stabilizing the marketplace in the early years of the exchanges -- risk corridors and reinsurance -- are coming to an end this year.
While opponents of Obamacare believe the exchanges are a disaster, Burwell said many states will see premiums rising by much less than 25 percent.
In Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota and Ohio, as well as in California and Massachusetts, benchmark premiums are rising by 7 percent or less.
These examples illustrate that there are parts of the country where marketplaces are already maturing, reaching stable price points and enjoying robust competition, the department argues.
It also claimed that those states experiencing high premium growth of over 25 percent are places where the 2016 rates were far below the national average or the cost of comparable coverage in the employer market.