Health Insurers Are Now Playing Hardball With Regulators Over Obamacare

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The health insurance marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act, which you probably know best as "Obamacare," has 11.1 million paying customers as of March 31, 2016, based on recently reported data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These enrollees have helped push the uninsured rate to its lowest levels on record, according to both Gallup and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yet in spite of this apparent success, much is amiss with Obamacare.

Concerns over Obamacare persist

Generally speaking, more people dislike the program than favor it, at least according to Kaiser Family Foundation's (KFF) Health Tracking Poll, which has been conducted on a near-monthly basis since the ACA was signed into law in March 2010.

While the reasons for disliking Obamacare will undoubtedly vary, the idea of being required to purchase health insurance, as well as paying a penalty for not buying health insurance, hasn't sat well with some Americans. KFF has forecast that the average penalty for not having health insurance in 2016 will be nearly $1,000. Additionally, more stringent minimum essential benefit requirements for Obamacare plans wound up forcing millions of Americans to lose their pre-Obamacare insurance plan, and potentially their primary care physician, in the process.

However, what's arguably the most common gripe relates to the "affordability" aspect of the Affordable Care Act. Premiums for Obamacare plans could see something close to double-digit-percentage increases in 2017 if KFF is correct. An analysis of the lowest-cost silver plans in 14 cities projected a premium raise of 11% next year. Though subsidized enrollees can escape the full wrath of these premium price hikes, middle-class Americans making more than 400% of the federal poverty level could be hit head-on.

But it's not just middle-class Americans that are caught in the Obamacare crossfire -- it affects health insurance providers, too.


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