ObamaCare ‘Reform’: 34% Fewer Doctors, Double-Digit Premium Hikes
Health Reform: Before ObamaCare, it would’ve been hard to find a health plan that combined a huge $6,000 deductible, few in-network doctors, and sky-high premiums. Today, thanks to ObamaCare, it’s hard not to.
A new report from Avalere Health finds that enrollees in ObamaCare plans have access to 34% fewer providers than those who buy a commercial plan outside the exchange. On average, it found, ObamaCare enrollees had 32% fewer primary care doctors and 24% fewer hospitals from which to choose.
Worse, ObamaCare plans covered 42% fewer oncologists and cardiologists than non-ObamaCare plans.
What this means is that lots of patients will end up going out of network to get the care that they need, which means paying far more out-of-pocket costs.
Deductibles are steeper under ObamaCare, too. In ObamaCare’s first year, the average deductible for a low-cost Bronze plan was 42% higher than before the law went into effect, according to HealthPocket. Deductibles climbed again this year and are expected to go up the next.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with high-deductible health plans. Consumers who are more aware of the cost of health care are more likely to be prudent shoppers and hold down health costs, something that IBD has frequently pointed out in this space.
Indeed, the rapid growth of Health Savings Account plans — which combine high deductibles with a tax-free account to pay out-of-pocket costs — has contributed to the overall slowdown in national health spending.
But before ObamaCare, consumers accepted these high deductibles in exchange for very low premiums. In Iowa, for example, a $5,000-deductible plan could cost as little as $442 in annual premiums. Not anymore.
The average Bronze plan today costs more than $3,500 a year in premiums while imposing a $5,181 deductible.
And now insurers are pushing double-digit premium hikes for 2016, some as high as 50%.
Reporters covering the ObamaCare beat either ignore these trends or try to blame the insurance industry.
But this sorry state of insurance affairs is a direct result of ObamaCare. Its market regulations and benefit mandates are driving up premiums and deductibles while limiting choice. This is the glorious “reformed” health care system that ObamaCare has produced.