November 19, 2015

Come 2017, there's a chance UnitedHealth Group will no longer be a part of ObamaCare. The nation's largest health insurer announced Thursday that, after taking into account losses of $275 million on plans sold through the Affordable Care Act exchanges, it would be slashing its 2016 earning projections and re-evaluating whether it would participate in the program in 2017. An estimated 550,000 people are currently enrolled in the insurer's exchange plans.

UnitedHealth's announcement marks a big change of heart for the company, which said just a month ago that it was optimistic about seeing "strikingly better performances on the insurance exchange business" in 2016.

Compare that to what UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said Thursday: "In recent weeks, growth expectations for individual exchange participation have tempered industrywide, co-operatives have failed and market data has signaled higher risks and more difficulties while our own claims experience has deteriorated, so we are taking this proactive step."

The insurer has reduced its outlook for fourth-quarter earnings by $425 million. If UnitedHealth decides to bail come 2017, it would strike a major blow to ObamaCare. Becca Stanek

October 29, 2014

According to a new study by HealthPocket that examined average health insurance premiums before the implementation of ObamaCare in 2013 and then afterward in 2014, insurance premiums have risen dramatically across the board since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The 23-year-old demographic is taking the hardest hit in the wallet, as the Washington Times reports men in that age group are "seeing an average 78.2 percent price increase before factoring in government subsidies," while women's premiums have risen an average of 44.9 percent.

Thirty-year-olds are also seeing their premiums skyrocket — men on an average of 73.4 percent and women on an average of 35.1 percent.

Older insurance buyers have also seen their rates increase, though at a much less dramatic rate compared to their younger counterparts. Sixty-three-year-old men saw their rates increase by 37.5 percent, and women of the same age saw theirs increase by 22.7 percent.

The study, to be widely released today, is titled "Without Subsidies Women & Men, Old & Young Average Higher Monthly Premiums with ObamaCare." Teresa Mull

July 10, 2014

When asked what they think of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially known as ObamaCare, Republicans are scathing and united in their disapproval. According to Gallup, 87 percent of Republicans disapprove of the law, and 77 percent think it will make the healthcare situation worse.

But in terms of their own experiences with ObamaCare?

According to a new poll taken by the Commonwealth Fund, people enrolled in ObamaCare are satisfied. And yes, that includes Republicans:

Overall, 73 percent of people who bought health plans and 87 percent of those who signed up for Medicaid said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their new health insurance. Seventy-four percent of newly insured Republicans liked their plans. Even 77 percent of people who had insurance before — including members of the much-publicized group whose plans got canceled last year — were happy with their new coverage. [Commonwealth Fund]

So for all the Hitler analogies and claims that ObamaCare causes cancer, the people enrolled in the program — even Republicans — are mostly happy about it.

The Commonwealth Fund study also found that the percentage of uninsured has dropped dramatically, from 20 percent down to 15 percent, with an additional 9.5 million fewer people now uninsured. John Aziz

June 6, 2014

Attacks on the Affordable Care Act seem to be getting more desperate, if not unhinged. Dr. Ben Carson told The Daily Beast this week that the law "has been even more damaging to the United States than the terrorist attacks of 9/11."

Yet the evidence shows that after a difficult rollout the law is working.

The number of uninsured people is the lowest it has been since Obama became president in 2009:


And although many have predicted soaring medical costs as a result of the law, medical costs are actually rising at a lower rate than they were in 2013 or 2012. John Aziz

April 27, 2014

One of the Obama administration's biggest obstacles to getting people enrolled in new health insurance plans was the daunting educational outreach effort necessary to inform people of what in the heck ObamaCare even was. With such a massive overhaul of the nation's health care system, there was bound to be mass confusion, misinformation, and plain old ignorance. And indeed, even late last month, six in ten uninsured adults didn't even know the deadline to enroll in ObamaCare was only a few days away; only two-thirds knew the Affordable Care Act required people to get insurance or face a fine.

Spurred on by politically-motivated counter-narratives, the sheer extent of the confusion was incredible. (Remember those dreaded, though fictional, death panels?) Yet a weekend feature from The New York Times exploring how the swirling uncertainty suppressed ObamaCare participation among the poor offers one of the most astounding tidbits to date: Some poor people believed signing up for ObamaCare involved having microchips implanted in their bodies, like something out of a dystopian science fiction film.

Despite a terrible rollout, ObamaCare still managed to crack its 7 million enrollment goal by April 1. That said, it's worth wondering if enrollments would have climbed even higher had there not been so much confusion surrounding the health care law. Jon Terbush

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