In 2010 the Federal Government passed our first mandated health insurance plan for most citizens under the age of 65. These changes came about from both unregulated healthcare practices and a promise to help those who could not afford insurance, or did not qualify for a plan because of health issues. Funding for this venture was redirected from the social security administration and other facets of government with restrictions how health care providers (insurance companies) could redirect the profits. The goal of this plan was to eliminate bad practices and corruption in order to help the greater good. The mandate also eliminated the practice of underwriting (verifying the prospects health to render an approval), deeming it discriminatory. The belief was that if enough people signed up for the new mandated insurance it would offset the risk of no underwriting. The powers that be were wrong.
Many healthy citizens didn’t welcome the higher premiums for a couple of reasons. Some saw this mandate as forced insurance that was against their constitutional rights. Others saw their premiums go up because of the mandate and were not willing to pay the extra cost for the greater good. Because most of these Americans decided to “self-insure” instead, or go without insurance, the system was financially doomed out the gate.
In order to cope with the losses, the participating insurers (virtually every health insurance giant in the US) starting restricting networks to the point of creating nationwide HMOs that provide little, if any, coverage outside of small networks. They also drastically raised deductibles in an attempt to help control the costs. When both of these strategies failed, as a last resort, they started increasing annual premiums to unfathomable levels, with some individuals seeing rate hikes of over 60%. Today, many ACA insurers are projected to increase their premiums by an average of over 25% for 2018, with no end in sight. In Texas, on the exchange (Healthcare.gov), the only original health insurance company left standing is Blue Cross Blue Shield. All of the others (Humana, Scott and White, Aetna, and United) have all left the state, as well as in many other states, to protect themselves from continuous losses.
Changes have already gone into effect that will permanently alter the healthcare platform. In January of 2017, the newly elected president issued an executive order to all facets of the Federal Government to not enforce any ACA mandates for any individual, business, or entity. With a republican house and senate, President Trump knew it was just a matter of time before the mandate was eliminated and wanted to give Americans open-ended options without the threat of a penalty. Whether or not the ACA continues remains to be seen. In my opinion is highly unlikely that Obama-care will be the front-runner moving forward.
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