Monday, June 10, 2013

Health insurers handing out rebate checks and lowering premiums. How do you like Obamacare now?

Courtesy of Think Progress:  

Americans who bought individual health plans in 2012 saved $2.1 billion thanks to Obamacare consumer protections that limit how much insurers can profit off of Americans’ premiums, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The vast majority of those savings stem from individual health plan providers lowering the premiums they charge Americans in an effort to comply with the reform law. 

The Kaiser study comes shortly after several major California insurers announced that they would have to pay back $36 million to small businesses and their employees after charging them too much. Obamacare mandates that insurers on the individual market spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they charge on actual medical services, or reimburse the amount they overspent to their customers. 

But insurers can avoid writing those checks after-the-fact if they just lower their premiums to begin with — and KFF’s study concludes that’s what many individual plan providers have been doing. KFF estimates that individual market insurers lowered their premiums by $856 million in 2011 and by $1.9 billion in 2012 to comply with the so-called “80/20 rule.” 

The combination of these premium savings and rebate checks meant that Americans who bought their own insurance spent 7.5 percent less on their coverage in 2012 than they would have without Obamacare’s consumer protections. 

Obamacare will also change that status quo soon enough. Once the law’s main provisions go live in 2014, individual and small group health plans sold on its statewide insurance marketplaces must offer ten “essential health benefits” to consumers, including for mental health care, prescription drug, and maternity services. Initial insurer bids for the marketplaces in several states have indicated that premiums will be affordable, and even lower than what many plans currently charge for far worse coverage.

You know every time I read information like this I cannot help but wonder just how much better the news would be if the Republicans were not trying to sabotage the Affordable Care Act at every turn?

I think that by 2014 the benefits will be too obvious and they will have no choice but to walk away and find another issue to use in order to attack the President.

But then again perhaps I am underestimating their cognitive dissonance.


  1. Anonymous12:39 PM

    The Republicans are going to have more and more egg on their faces regarding Obamacare and it's going to be a kick in the ass to watch.

    Vote them out of office every chance you get in the upcoming elections. They are a horrible party - obstructive - liars - frauds, anti women (reproduction) - anti women as to income and racists!

  2. Anonymous12:57 PM

    My partner and I will still not be able to afford the projected premiums in Alaska, even after the 2014 act is recognized. I had hoped that we could get insurance for less than is offered now but it is not going to happen. Out of pocket is how we'll continue to live for medical and dental.

  3. Anonymous1:19 PM

    One of our children was able to go back on our plan, the other’s premiums were reduced by one-third (and as a person in the market without employee provided coverage he was paying $311 per month (age 29, no pre-existing medical issues or any issues for that matter, and now pays $190 and it now includes dental!!!!) I did meet someone the other day who said her daughter’s hours were being reduced at Walmart Because of ObamaCare. I then realized she was Alaska Native and has no idea about how miserably the rest of us have been managing health care issues.

    1. Anonymous6:59 PM

      I hope she's pissed off at Walmart and not ObamaCare. How rich we the Walton kids now, yet they won't pay a living wage or basic hath care of their local employees.

  4. Anonymous2:23 PM

    People are too stupid to know that they're getting the rebates because of Obamacare, though.

    Also, I don't get the WalMart thing. Most of their associates are part-time and the law doesn't apply to them, anyway, as far as I know. It's just stupid people saying stupid things because they're stupid.

    1. Anonymous4:07 PM

      Your last sentence is the best explanation for this behavior that I have ever heard. I'm going to remember it so I can calm myself down after I have heard the anti-Obama idiocy that is all around.

    2. Anonymous6:44 PM

      None of it really matters, either we buy insurance or we don't. No biggie. The Government can try to tax those that don't buy into the ACA but you can't get blood from a turnip, so the people that can't afford coverage can't afford the tax penalty either.

  5. Anonymous2:23 PM

    Obamacare Isn’t The Problem – The Healthcare ‘Market’ Is Robbing The Middle Class And Here’s The Proof (VIDEO)

  6. Anonymous2:25 PM

    Obamacare May Have Saved My Life

  7. Anonymous3:04 PM

    I dislike Obamacare more every day.
    Please repeal this invasion to our Healthcare system

    1. You are stupid. Your comment is stupid. You do not deserve any respect for your opinion because it is inexcusably stupid and ignorant.

      What invasion of our healthcare system? What is it you don't like?

      That insurers won't be able to cancel your policy after years of paying premiums because you actually get sick?

      That you can keep your child on your policy until age 26, a time frame when many young people can't find a job with health benefits?


      Why do you think it is a good idea for people to profiteer off the lives of your loved ones?

      To tell people to make a "market decision" regarding the life of a child?

      Why do you believe that we do not have a right to life and liberty? Because treating your life as a profit-driven marketable commodity, surely takes away your right to life.

      Why do you believe Jesus only healed those who had a job and corporate, profit-driven health care?

      You are a moron. And you are un-American, and you hate the concept of life and liberty, because you believe only those should live who have money.

      Shame, shame, shame, on you.

    2. Anonymous4:14 PM

      what do you say to people who just can't fucking AFFORD it asshole??????????????

    3. Anonymous6:52 PM


      Lots won't be able to afford it and there is a penalty for not buying into a plan, however, if you can't afford a plan you can't afford the penalty either. Down the road this whole thing will be restructured, by 2020, at least. I can't afford the Alaska options, they would be over $600 per month for each of us, my husband and I. That's $1200 per month, getting pretty close to another mortgage payment. We're just going to ignore it and see what the penalties are and probably ignore those too. Since Alaska is not participating in the Federal plans we just get screwed as do many red states that aren't participating.

    4. Anonymous7:01 PM

      Oh, yes. How will those ethical, angelic, generous insurance companies ever make their millions off the backs of sick and desperate people?

  8. Randall3:18 PM

    And I know some Republicans that will argue until they are blue in the face that insurance companies have every right in the world to cheat you blind.

  9. The thing they will continue to kick themselves about is naming it "Obamacare". That name will stick to it forever. And as the benefits of it continue, not only will they continue to be unsuccessful in killing it, blocking it or making any changes that would weaken or damage it, but the name will continue to remind people that "you didn't build that" and in fact you (Republicans) did everything you could to deny the American people the benefits of Obamacare.

    Obama/Democrats did it and the people benefit from it. Look I got a check! Look my rates are lower! Look I can go to the doctor instead of an emergency room!

    Yeah, Republicans. It's Obamacare now and there's nothing you can do about it.

    1. You hit the nail on the head! I can see it a generation or two (or more) down the road when a group similar to the then-defunct Tea Party party scrawls "Dont let the dam govment touch my Obamacare (but, of course, their signs won't exactly say Obamacare)" having no clue as to the irony of it all!

  10. Anonymous4:16 PM

    I'm constantly reminded of the excellent bit someone did, asking some numbnut what they hate so much about Obamacare.

    Each aspect of it was mentioned, and the fool kept admitting, "Well, yeah, I like THAT part."

    It ends with the question, "Well, what part of Obamacare do you hate, then?"

    "The Obama part."

  11. Large business owners will outsource jobs to offset OBAMACARE. The U.S. healthcare reform (“Obama Care” or the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”) is intended to pressure large and small employers through force and taxation. Enacted in July 2010, the end result will show North American companies deciding to send customer support, sales, lead generation and appointment setting jobs offshore to stay competitive or risk going out of business. Many business owners will hire a dedicated bilingual employee nearshore who is 100% qualified for their project. Financially speaking, ESL call center employees in Costa Rica are as effective as transitional in-house staff for half of the cost. This proven strategy will give small to medium sized companies the option to scale up their BPO staff without getting caught in the Obamacare challenge in 2014.

    1. Anonymous7:03 PM

      How are the health benefits and medical care down their in Costa Rica? What's the hourly rate and the minimum wage?

    2. Anonymous9:22 PM


    3. Anita Winecooler9:25 PM

      What? Walmart outsourcing? How is this a "bad thing?", who knows more about their goods than the folks who make them?

  12. Anonymous5:33 PM

    Speaking as a proud citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I can tell you that, by and large, the ACA will be a tremendous blessing for just about everyone.
    It works here. Thank you, Mitt Romney!

  13. Anita Winecooler9:21 PM

    Is was one of those who prefers the single payer option, but seeing the benefits early on has convinced me that Obamacare will be here to stay. My three kids can stay on our policy, I know it sounds like "heh, big fricking deals" to some people, but to me this, alone is huge.
    Being a cancer survivor, the security of knowing my premiums can't go up just because I had cancer AND that I can't be refused coverage is a huge burden off my shoulders.
    Once people see the benefits in action, it'll be impossible to repeal Obamacare. You can't take a basic human right away once it's law.


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