Japsen vs. Roy: Hot Forbes-on-Forbes Action!
Thanks to contributor Brian W. for both of the following pieces out of Forbes, published just two days apart; the contrast in headlines couldn't be more stark. First up is Bruce Japsen, who writes:
Though some analysts and even health plan executives believe there could be many double-digit percentage increases in premiums where some health plans underpriced for this year’s first year of enrollment to get customers, there have been examples where insurers are considering introducing even lower premiums than what they offered this year or new product with lower rates. A Bloomberg News report last week, for example, cited Molina Healthcare (MOH) in Washington State as offering a 2015 rate that is an average “6.8 percent reduction” from this year’s rate.
As my post from earlier today notes, it looks like there's going to be a huge increase in free-market competition on the exchanges this fall, as major players like Cigna and United Healthcare jump into the game, so this should be interesting to see.
This was followed up 2 days later by my old sparring partner, Avik Roy, who claims:
5,000 transit workers in Philadelphia are at loggerheads with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, or SEPTA, over their new contract. SEPTA estimates that the Cadillac tax alone will increase its health-insurance costs by $15 million a year, an increase of 12.5 percent.
The Cadillac tax is, in general, a good thing, because it ends the unlimited tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage. It will incentivize many employers to revise their health plans in order to become more cost-efficient. But public-sector executives are far more reluctant to fight the unions on this point.
Hmmm...imagine that, a conservative Republican claiming that a tax increase is a good thing. Of course, to him it's only good if the tax "sticks it" to union employees, but it's still refreshing.
Still, that seemingly alarming-looking headline wording is more than a little disingenuous when you consider that insurance premium rates were going up an average of 10% per year before the ACA was enacted. So, at worst, the ACA has had no impact on insurance rate increases whatsoever; at best, it's causing the rate to actually slow down.