a) My son has a 102° fever & is home sick from school
b) My ISP connection is down and I'm posting this from my iPhone
c) I'm swamped with work from my day job and have to focus on that the best I can
d) All of the above
The Republicans controlling the Virginia state legislature have been fighting tooth & nail to prevent 400,000 of their fellow Virginians from receiving healthcare, but Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe has finally found a way to squeeze 25,000 people onto Medicaid anyway by reshuffling the deck of existing executive regulatory rules:
RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Monday unveiled a plan to insure an additional 25,000 Virginians, a measure that falls far short of his vow to defy the Republican-controlled legislature and find a way to expand coverage to 400,000.
After losing a months-long Medicaid fight in June, McAuliffe declared that he would close the “coverage gap” on his own.
On Monday, he announced a much more modest series of proposals, primarily designed to improve care for people already in Medicaid and boost outreach efforts to people who already qualify for it, but are not enrolled.
The plan would change enrollment criteria for about 25,000 people, including 20,000 who are severely mentally ill and 5,000 children of state employees.
This is a fairly short article. The thing that's noteworthy about my "weighting" is that I had to combine both the individual QHPs as well as VT's SHOP enrollments due to the unique situation in that state (it's a long story). QHPs + SHOP = around 66,600 paid enrollees as of the end of July. Since BCBSVT has 65K of those (over 97%), that gives a weighted average increase of around 7.8%.
Again, the other important things to note are that 1) this is still well below the "double-digit spikes!!" that nay-sayers have been screaming about for the past year, and 2) it's also around 20% lower on average than what the insurers had originally requested (weighted average).
MONTPELIER — People who buy their health insurance through the Vermont Health Connect website are going to be seeing their rates go up.
On Tuesday, the Green Mountain Care Board authorized Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont to increase its rates an average of 7.7 percent while MVP subscribers will see their rates increase 10.9 percent.
Blue Cross, the state’s largest health care insurer with about 65,000 customers enrolled through Vermont Health Connect, had requested an increase of 9.8 percent while MVP asked for 15.3 percent.
Wow! This article is from back in June, but it's a heck of a find; insurance-tracking website HealthPocket ran an extensive study comparing the ACA exchange-based policies against their off-exchange equivalent plans, and their findings were pretty striking (and I'm surprised that this hasn't received more coverage):
Overall the least expensive metal plans from United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna, and Assurant were significantly more expensive than the least expensive metal plans available on state exchanges. Across the bronze, silver, and gold metal tiers, the least expensive plans offered by the four off-exchange carriers were over 40% more expensive on average than the least expensive plans on the exchanges. This suggests that if these carriers entered new exchanges in 2015, then they would not usually be competitive with the cheapest on-exchange plans unless they substantially lowered their current premiums. It is important to note that these premium costs do not factor premium subsidies, which are only available for on-exchange metal plans.
OK, I don't know what the requested rate changes for 2015 were in Oklahoma, but this appears to be the final word:
Health Insurers Submit Exchange Rates for 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY –Oklahomans shopping for individual health insurance policies through the federal exchange will be able to choose from six different companies offering multiple plans. Rate renewals for 2015 policies range from a decrease of 9.1 percent to an increase of 29 percent. The actual rate for an individual will depend on several factors, including age, geographical location and tobacco use.
“In the second year of the federal exchange, carriers have adjusted their rates to adequately reflect their utilization costs, comply with federal rules on medical loss ratios and reflect revisions to their provider networks,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak.
Thanks to Objective Politics for reminding me of this ugly moment from the 2012 GOP primaries...
The context was a Twitter discussion between LA Times reporter Michael Hiltzik, U of Chicago professor Harold Pollack, and CATO Institute healthcare guru/Halbig co-architect Michael Cannon. "Objective Politics" chimed in with the link to the infamous moment above, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the opposing points of view at play in the ACA debate.
There's nothing wrong with reminding people about this, but I'm pretty disappointed with both the author as well as PBS for treating this as if it's a "surprise" or something unexpected:
Consumers may soon find a surprise in their mailbox: a notice that their health plan is being canceled.
Last year, many consumers who thought their health plans would be canceled because they didn’t meet the standards of the health law got a reprieve. Following stinging criticism for appearing to renege on a promise that people who liked their existing plans could keep them, President Barack Obama backed off plans to require all individual and small group plans that had not been in place before the health law to meet new standards starting in 2014.