Molina: TrumpubliCare will force us to jack up rates at least 30% all by itself.
2019 OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS (most states)
Time: D H M S
Well, the early reviews are in, and it ain't pretty.
Democrats, progressives and patient advocates hate TrumpubliCare, which obviously surprises no one.
The American Health Association and American Hospital Association both hate TrumpubliCare (hoping the American Heart Association chimes in as well so I can make it an "AHA, AHA & AHA hates AHCA" trifecta).
Conservatives hate TrumpubliCare (for very different reasons, of course), which is perhaps more surprising.
- Avik Roy, Forbes: House GOP's Obamacare Replacement Will Make Coverage Unaffordable For Millions -- Otherwise, It's Great
- Robert Laszewski, Health Policy & Marketplace Review: The House Republican Obamacare Replacement Plan: Mind Boggling
- Michael Cannon, CATO Institute: The House GOP Leadership’s Health Care Bill Is ObamaCare-Lite — Or Worse
But what about the insurance carriers...you know, the ones who only have a couple of months to decide whether to even bother participating in the individual market (whether via the ACA exchanges or off-exchange, depending on whether the GOP plan would still use them or not)?
Well, according to the Wall St. Journal, at least one major insurer isn't beating around the bush:
One blow for insurers, which had long been expected from any Republican overhaul, is the immediate cancellation of the 2010 health law’s penalties for going without health coverage, a mandate that was aimed at pulling healthy enrollees into the individual insurance market. The industry is also not expected to welcome the scaling back of federal subsidies that help lower-income people pay for plans and cover out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles.
...J. Mario Molina, chief executive of Molina Healthcare Inc., a major managed-Medicaid company that also offers ACA plans in nine states, said he believes that striking the coverage mandate penalties could help push individual-plan premiums up by 30% or more next year—and more in the future, when the reduced subsidies kick in. That shift, he estimated, could shrink enrollment in ACA plans by three-quarters or more, leaving a smaller, less-healthy group of enrollees.
“You’re going to see big rate increases, and you’re going to see insurers exit markets…this is going to destabilize the marketplace,” he said. Dr. Molina added that the proposal’s help for insurers wasn’t enough to offset the removal of the mandate and other negatives. Molina has said it is reconsidering its ACA marketplace offerings.
30 percent rate hikes...just from killing the individual mandate penalty. Apparently the CEO of Molina doesn't think that the other "30%" (replacing the mandate penalty with a 30% premium surcharge penalty for those who don't keep continuous coverage) will do squat to prevent adverse selection in the indy market.
Of course, Molina could just be talking tough to try and pressure the GOP into beefing up that penalty (50%? 100%? etc?), but everything I've read suggests that he's probably pretty close to the mark. Remember, that's 30% on top of whatever Molina was already planning on raising rates by next year if the ACA was kept chugging along as is (without any changes positive or negative).
Alternately, they may get tired of the GOP jerking them around and just say "screw this, I'm outta here" regardless of whether the Republicans repeal, replace, shore up the ACA or does nothing whatsoever...exactly like Humana did a few weeks ago.