Economy / Healthcare / Politics

The Unavoidable Costs of the Affordable Care Act

Earlier last week, the American Action Forum released a survey analyzing the cost of individual premiums due to the ACA. The survey looks at the spectrum of rate changes across any geographic area rather than the average changes. The results are shocking and they paint a poor future outlook for the young and healthy individuals.

The study reveals new findings that “the ACA will dramatically increase the cost of insurance for the young and healthy individuals and small employers….” The average increase is up to 100 percent. The study also finds that older and sicker individuals will see an average 25 percent decrease in their premiums. Now, why is that?

Also, there is no guarantee that all healthy individuals will be willing to purchase a costly health insurance plan. Will enforcing the ACA with penalties for noncompliance make up the necessary revenue to subsidize older and sicker Americans?

Even large health care service corporations such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and National Association of Health Underwriters are questioning the penalties and enrollment fees that individuals will have to pay if not compliant with the ACA. The corporations claim that the fines are too weak or even too small to really create a giant push for individuals to enroll in a health plan. An article from POLITICO examines the critical issue of making sure that individuals enroll in the ACA in a timely matter so that the premium costs will not create an extra burden on those enrollees.

The purpose of the ACA is to be able to provide every American and legal resident affordable health care. One of the speakers from Health Affairs Briefing: New Era Of Patient Engagement, Marion Danis, states that “payment incentives should be based on outcomes that patient’s have selected.” But the ACA poses a double jeopardy to those individuals who simply cannot afford to pay for a health insurance, and are thus forced to pay penalties or unexpected fees each year.

With 11 months to go until the ACA is fully implemented, it is important to recognize the financial burdens that individuals may see in the future. Cost is an issue that we have seen from the start of the ACA, but now the question is, can it be possible to make it affordable?

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