Add Anthem Blue Cross, Humana, Aetna and United Health Group to the growing list of companies and people who want little or nothing to do with Obamacare.
The four health insurers have announced that they are withdrawing from the federal law’s insurance exchanges in several states.
The exchanges are supposed to be the only place that people who do not get health insurance from employers or through Medicaid can obtain health insurance, which is required under threat of fines.
The insurance exchanges are to be run by the states, the federal government, or a combination of the two. As more insurers pull out of more exchanges, consumers will have fewer choices.
Most of the conflict between insurers and states has to do with — no surprise — costs. For example, in Connecticut, Aetna had geared its premiums toward an expected actual care cost increase of 10 percent, but the state told it to reduce that to 8. 5 percent.
The state says it is trying to look out for the consumers. Aetna says it submitted accurate cost assessments (some of which are caused by Obamacare itself) and the government is trying to wave a magic wand and order premiums to be unreasonably low.
According to USA Today, Connecticut is now down to three insurers that are willing to participate in that state’s insurance exchange for individual health plans.
Aetna’s also staying out of Maryland, Georgia and California.
California in particular seems to be driving away insurers. Anthem is withdrawing from the small business plan exchange, and United Health is steering clear of the individual plan exchange.
Consumers may still be able to buy plans outside of the exchanges, but they won’t be able to use federal credits and whatever other perks the Administration is using to buy off people.
During the “debate” — some would say “bum’s rush” — over Obamacare, the president promised that if people liked their health care plan they could keep it. But that seems increasingly unlikely as the labyrinth of regulations not only dissuades insurers from participating in the exchanges and even in certain segments of plans, but also drives an ever-growing number of businesses to fire workers, eliminate benefits or decrease hours to get around the hidden high costs of Obamacare.
It’s easy to foresee the coming situation where more and more workers lose employer-provided health plans and either are thrown on the mercy of state exchanges with no real choices or have to accept the federal fine/tax penalty.
After all, no real effort was made in the mad rush of Obamacare to address what the real problems are that drive up health care costs. Instead, it was all about creating a gigantic bureaucracy that the Man Who Would be King could put his name on and that would be a perpetual revenue generator for the Administration.
Government health care plans are already so bad that few doctors are willing to take them. Obamacare isn’t going to improve this situation, and all the major actors behind it are well aware of that fact.
Everyone with any pull is getting an exemption or special consideration to escape the worst effects of what will go down in history as one of the worst laws of all time. That leaves you and I to foot the real bill.
While the Administration picks our pockets, we will find ourselves with fewer options and steadily degrading access to care.
The cynic in me wants to say that it’s all part of the plan to “decrease the surplus population,” as Scrooge might say. Even the optimist in me really has a hard time disagreeing.