Back in 2010, the Democrats who would not let their fellow congresscritters see the “Affordable” Care Act, known as “ObamaCare,” before it was passed thought they were so smart. Due to the stupidity of the American voter, the people were going to all end up enrolled in government approved health insurance programs that people with pre-existing conditions could enroll in, and all the healthy young people would pay for the sick older people….
The triumphant elite forgot one little thing. Despite Common Core, Americans still know how to do real, simple math, and the majority know how to budget on a limited income. (It’s called survival.)
The Affordable Care Act was, from the time we all got a good look at it, decidedly UNAFFORDABLE. So, the American people who needed health insurance started looking around for alternatives since the deductibles made the insurance itself unusable for many people. (The idea was to keep costs down. Well, not going to the doctor, and not using the insurance at all definitely keeps costs down.) For people who aren’t sick, paying the fine just made more sense, as it was cheaper in the long run.
As it happens, the policies that ObamaCare was designed to drum out of the market – short term policies renewable annually, and at any time with a cap on outlays, and not paying for a number of prescription drugs – are actually still available even if they are not ACA compliant. Not only are they still available, but even with the federal fine for not being ACA compliant, they are a heck of a lot cheaper than regular ACA policies that must be purchased during an open enrollment period. From the Wall Street Journal:
Robin Herman, the 34-year-old owner of a marketing firm in San Francisco, bought a short-term policy in December. The monthly cost of her short-term coverage, plus conventional ACA-compliant plans for her two children, is roughly one-quarter of what she would have paid for conventional health plans covering all three of them, she says.
“This is saving me a ton of money for the year,” she said, despite the penalty. Plans that comply with the health law’s rules cost more than her old pre-ACA policy and are “just not affordable,” she said.
Savings. The reason why Americans are turning to the old ways of buying health insurance is plain and simply to save money. ObamaCare otherwise would be bankrupting them.
The headlines are full of stories regarding just how under enrolled ObamaCare is. The old fashioned short term health insurance policies, on the other hand, have become far more common.
The short-term policies’ limits help keep premiums down. A survey by eHealth Inc. this year found that 51% of purchasers cited price as their reason, versus 39% who said they needed only temporary coverage.
“We had more people who were calling to look for something as an alternative to an ACA plan, whereas prior to the ACA they were looking for a short-term plan as a bridge,” said Sean Malia, senior director of carrier relations at eHealth.
EHealth said the number of people applying for short-term policies on its site last year was nearly 147,000, slightly down from 2014 but more than double the figure for 2013, before the ACA took full effect.
HealthMarkets Inc., a national insurance agency, said short-term sales in 2015 were about 150% higher than in 2013. GoHealth LLC, a major health-insurance site, saw a “substantial increase” in short-term policy sales in 2014, and again in 2015, said Michael Mahoney, a senior vice president.
That’s a lot of people looking for what amounts to catastrophic coverage. If something happens that a person needs the fuller coverage that an ObamaCare policy would cover, they can move to that.
As time goes on in life under ObamaCare, the popularity of the annual short term policies is sure to grow, so much so, that major insurers are writing more of them now, and adding pregnancy provisions into them. How are they able to do this and get away with it?
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said that under federal law, short-term plans aren’t considered individual health insurance, and thus aren’t subject to the ACA’s rules.
And even with the fine, they are cheaper than having ObamaCare coverage. This is one loophole all Americans should be glad the government didn’t close.
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