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Patriots are Counter-Revolutionaries trying to prevent the government from overthrowing the Constitution."
The Coach’s Team (TCT) offers the best in conservative essays along with articles taken from various internet sites. The victory of Donald Trump has provided a God-sent opportunity to reverse the years of willful damage done our nation by Barack Hussein Obama.
Friday, May 4, 2018
The Health 202: Leading Obamacare insurer says things are ‘materially worse’ under Trump administration
Ed. So things are “materially
worse” under Trump, according to ‘Republican’ Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
Well, perhaps that’s because President Trump hasn’t illegally and
unconstitutionally CHANGED the ObamaCare law to suit his critics and temporarily
mask the effects of the irrevocable disaster into which ANY government
controlled and manufactured healthcare plan must quickly devolve! After all, Barry just COULDN'T have his namesake effort to enslave the American people disintegrate before his terms expired.
Maryland Gov. Larry
Hogan recently signed legislation to lower premiums in the state's
If the road was bumpy for Obamacare insurers this year,
it will be full of potholes in 2019.
More rate hikes are looming large in May and June as
insurers face even more potential losses under a Republican
The CEO of CareFirst
Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the insurers gearing up to release prices
for next year’s plans sold on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, has in
the past has
warned the marketplaces are in a “death spiral." Now Chet Burrell fears things are
“You can’t run a
business in the face of uncontrollable losses you can’t stem,” Burrell, who is
retiring later this year, told me in an interview yesterday.
CareFirst wants to
keep participating in the marketplaces, Burrell stressed, but said the company's board faces “an
interesting decision” if it must keep covering an ever-sicker mix of enrollees.
“Continuing actions on the part of the administration to
systematically undermine the market and make it almost impossible to carry out
the mission,” Burrell said. “If
continued efforts at the federal level undermine the marketplaces, I would
think the board would have to examine what they would want — that’s very much
on their mind.”
That’s a striking statement from the head of the largest
insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region, which covers about 215,000 people without
employer-sponsored plans in the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. marketplaces and is
among the insurers most loyal to the exchanges.
CareFirst belongs to
the family of Blue Cross plans, which have maintained a strong and steady
presence there even as other insurers have dropped out over the past few years.
Because these plans have traditionally served low-income and underserved
populations, they see themselves as playing a vital role in the marketplaces,
even though it has meant heavy losses.
CareFirst has lost about $600 million on the marketplaces since
they launched in 2014, which makes up about 6 percent of the
There’s no expectation of making money on covering
this population, Burrell said. He just hopes to break even – but says Congress
and the White House are making that possibility remoter than ever.
Too Late! Barack & Co already got it done!
repealed the penalty for lacking health-care coverage. And now the Trump
administration is moving full steam ahead on new regulations allowing the
expansion of more bare-boned health plans. Insurers warn those
actions will draw more healthy people who want either cheap coverage or
none at all out of the marketplaces, leaving an increasingly sick and expensive
This means more
market segregation all around, where plans get cheaper for the healthy and more
expensive for the not-as-healthy. Insurers
have been warning of this situation, but it’s about to get more real as 2019
rates are released in the coming weeks.
How would it play out
for CareFirst customers? Burrell said to expect steeply rising premiums for PPO
(Preferred Provider Organization) plans giving many doctor and hospital
options. Patients with cancer or serious chronic conditions tend to prefer
these plans with more extensive networks, since they must often visit
specialists or get extra tests.
“What we’re seeing is
the risk pool, particularly for the PPO, is shrinking as healthier people
depart and either take their chances or look for some other coverage,” Burrell
said. “The PPO experience is as bad as we thought it was going to be.”
Meanwhile, rate hikes
won’t be as bad for plans with fewer provider options known as HMOs, or Health
Maintenance Organizations, Burrell said. That’s because they’ll continue
attracting the lower-cost customers.
Interestingly, not all the actions the Trump
administration has taken toward the Obamacare marketplaces are so detrimental. For example, CareFirst and other insurers
were more than able to make up for the loss of extra subsidies for cost-sharing
discounts by getting bigger subsidy payments for monthly premiums (through a
phenomenon known as “silver-loading,” which The Health 202 has explained
And Burrell mostly shrugged his shoulders when I asked
him about a massive marketplace
regulation the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released last
month, which gives insurers more flexibility in designing plan benefits.
“There are some
changes, but they’re relatively marginal,” Burrell said of the rule, which was
widely panned by Democrats and pro-ACA activists. “So it’s not a major blow to
Obamacare, nor a major help.”
There’s help coming from some alternative corners. The state of Maryland, where the most
CareFirst customers live, is lending a hand to marketplace insurers. Gov. Larry
Hogan (R) signed
a bipartisan bill in early April creating a program where insurers with the
heaviest losses can get compensated, paid for with $380 million worth of taxes.
Without the program,
Maryland officials had predicted a 50 percent hike in marketplace premiums;
now, Burrell predicts it will allow CareFirst to lower premiums 20 to 30
percent compared to where they would otherwise be set for 2019.
But that doesn’t erase the indignation Burrell expresses
toward those leaders in the White House and Congress, who seem intent on trying the patience of
the insurers still willing to undergo heavy financial losses to cover the
customers Obamacare was designed to reach.
“Did Obamacare work?” he said. “Did the people who needed
the coverage get it? Hell, yes.”