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Opinion

December 11, 2013

Obamacare is lowering premiums

Part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is providing a Patient’s Bill of Rights, which prohibits insurance companies from imposing lifetime limits, and states that your insurer has to use at least 80 percent of your premiums on the actual health care that you’re receiving, not on administrative costs and CEO bonuses. Millions of Americans have already received rebates. 

A young person who doesn’t have health insurance can stay on a parent’s health insurance until age 26. That stipulation provides security until young people can get more firmly established in the labor market. 

Under the Medicare program, senior citizens have saved millions of dollars on prescription drug discounts. 

The Health Care Act sets a minimum standard that all health insurance plans must provide. And, there are plans out there that don’t, so insurance companies are required to come up with a new product. The people who have those plans will eventually have to give them up, but it’s a very small number of Americans who will have to give them up. 

Marketplaces have been created in every state, so consumers can be part of a large pool. Insurers bid to compete for the business of those large pools. These marketplaces provide high-quality health care at affordable prices, giving people choices so they can get the health insurance that they need. Premiums are significantly lower than what they were able to purchase previously.

Risk pooling and creating competition are lowering premiums. In New York state, insurers have put in their bids to participate in marketplaces. It turns out that their rates are 50 percent lower than what was available previously if you went on the open market and tried to purchase health insurance. California premiums are about 33 percent lower. 

Jim O’Leary

Delhi

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