Study Finds Obamacare Not Significant Cause Of Rate Increases In Individual And Small Group Insurance Plans

Besides the massive amount of misinformation being distributed by conservatives, the Affordable Care Act faces two significant public relations problems: 1) Many people are unaware of how they are benefiting and 2) Many people attribute problems which are unrelated to the Affordable Care Act to the new law. The second is exacerbated by conservative misinformation.

Many people remain unaware of the major problems which occurred in the past such as people losing their insurance coverage after developing a major medical problem. As they will no longer experience this under Obamacare, they no longer have any reason to consider this issue, but this also means many will not take this major change into account when evaluating the Affordable Care Act. People also have short memories of many long-standing problems, such as premiums which rise every year. Many are blaming premium increases this year on Obamacare as opposed to factors which were already present. The Commonwealth Fund looked at premium increases of 10 percent or more and found that only 1 percent of the increase was due to the Affordable Care Act:

From the summary:

The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to justify rate increases of 10 percent or more for nongrandfathered plans in the individual and small-group markets. Analyzing these filings for rates taking effect from mid-2012 through mid-2013, insurers attributed the great bulk—three-quarters or more—of these larger rate increases to routine factors such as trends in medical costs. Insurers attributed only a very small portion of these medical cost trends to factors related to the Affordable Care Act. The ACA-related factor mentioned most often, but only in a third of the rate filings in this study, was the requirement to cover women’s preventive and contraceptive services without patient cost-sharing. But, the insurers who point to this requirement or other ACA-related costs attributed only about 1 percentage point of their rate increases to the health reform law.

While the Affordable Care Act did not significantly increase these premiums, the “reform law’s rate review program boosted state regulators’ oversight and scrutiny of insurer rate hikes, saving consumers $1.2 billion on health insurance premiums last year, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.”

Unfortunately, many who would benefit from the Affordable Care Act have not checked into coverage yet. It is likely the number will continue to increase as more reports of the benefits get out to counter the conservative misinformation designed to sabotage Obamacare.