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Obamacare Premium Increases Average 49%: 3,137-County Analysis

Map showing impact of Obamacare Premium Increases.

Avik Roy , Forbes Staff

There are hundreds of aspects of Obamacare that people argue over. But there’s one question that matters above all others: does the Affordable Care Act live up to its name? Does it make health insurance less expensive? Last November, our team at the Manhattan Institute published a study indicating that Obamacare had increased the underlying cost of individually-purchased health insurance in the average state by 41 percent in 2014, relative to 2013. We’ve now redone the study on a county-by-county basis, complete with a brand-new interactive map. Depending on where you live, the results may surprise you.

Our new county-by-county analysis was led by Yegeniy Feyman, who compiled the county-based data for 27-year-olds, 40-year-olds, and 64-year-olds, segregated by gender. We were able to obtain data for 3,137 of the United States’ 3,144 counties.

Buchanan County, Mo. sees 271% rate hike for men

Among men, the county with the greatest increase in insurance prices from 2013 to 2014 was Buchanan County, Missouri, about 45 miles north of Kansas City: 271 percent. Among women, the “winner” was Goodhue County, Minnesota, about an hour southwest of Minneapolis: 200 percent. Overall, the counties of Nevada, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Arkansas haven experienced the largest rate hikes under the law.

The best-faring county for both men and women was St. Lawrence County in northern New York, with premium decreases of 70 percent in 2014 relative to 2013. The New York City metropolitan area—the five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester County—are the clear winners under Obamacare, with decreases in the 63 to 64 percent range.

Obamacare bails out New York’s death spiral

There’s a reason why New York does so well. In 1992, then-Gov. Mario Cuomo (D.) signed a law barring health insurers from charging different rates based on age, gender, health, or smoking status: what wonks call pure community rating. Naturally, older and sicker people thought this was a great deal, while younger and healthier people dropped out. As I detailed last summer, New York quickly became the poster child of the dreaded adverse selection death spiral.

Obamacare’s regulations are similar to Mario Cuomo’s, with two key differences. First, Obamacare has an individual mandate forcing young people to buy costlier insurance than they need. Second, many low-income people qualify for subsidies under Obamacare, encouraging healthy (but poor) people to sign up. Indeed, Cuomo’s successor George Pataki (R.) instituted a subsidized exchange called “Healthy New York” that did somewhat mitigate the Cuomo death spiral for those who were poor enough to qualify.

In addition, Obamacare allows a slightly wider age-rating band than New York; the federal law allows insurers to charge older individuals three times as much as younger ones. Since older people consume around six times as much health care as younger people, this is still a rip-off for the young in most parts of the country, but it doesn’t make a difference in the Empire State, which has deliberately chosen to maintain its requirement that age can play no factor in health premiums.

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FORBES INVESTORS’ NOTE: The biggest publicly-traded players in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges are Aetna (NYSE:AET), Humana (NYSE:HUM), Cigna (NYSE:CI), Molina (NYSE:MOH), WellPoint (NYSE:WLP), and Centene (NYSE:CNC), in order of the number of uninsured exchange-eligible Americans for whom their plans are available.

End of article.

 

Also see:

Here’s What’s Going On With Obamacare Premium Increases

 

Posted:

Health insurance premiums are going to skyrocket under Obamacare next year, maybe even double! No, wait — they’re only increasing a little, and less than before Obamacare! No, wait — they’re … decreasing in some places?

The crucial question about the second year of enrollment on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges is: How much will coverage cost? Actual prices won’t be available in most states until the exchanges open Nov. 15, or shortly before that, so consumers are left to sort through political spin and preliminary reports that don’t make things any clearer.

So what’s going on? First, most people will pay more for health insurance next year. That’s true whether you get coverage from a job, on your own through an exchange or directly from an insurer, or from Medicare. Health insurance prices tend to go up. It’s their nature, and it’s closely tied to how much the cost of medical care rises.

Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/21/obamacare-premiums-2015_n_5691773.html

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