Apr 03, 2017

A Potential Anthem Departure Shows Why Obamacare’s Regulations Must Go

Post by Geoff Holtzman

Anthem is reportedly considering exiting most of Obamacare’s individual marketplace in 2018 — a decision that could leave thousands more Americans without any options on Obamacare’s exchanges. The possibility that Anthem may follow the decisions by Humana and Aetna to abandon Obamacare’s exchanges highlights the elephant in the room; Obamacare’s costly insurance regulations and mandates.

Simply put, these regulations and mandates drive up premiums, and new data reported by The Daily Signal shows how much. The data found that Obamacare’s Guarantee Issue and Community Rating regulations cause premiums to rise an average of 15-to-30 percent and 19-to-35 percent respectively. Meanwhile, Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits drive up premiums by an average of 8 percent.

All of this translates into higher costs for real people. For example, New Jersey residents Stacey and Eddie Albert saw their premium skyrocket almost $300 per month after the mandated benefits took effect. According to CNN, “their premium shot up to around $650 a month for a policy that came with pediatric dental coverage and maternity services — benefits they didn’t use or want since they don’t have kids.”

More expensive premiums discourage younger, healthier Americans from purchasing coverage. Without them, insurers are mostly left with customers who are more expensive to cover. Since Obamacare’s regulations require insurers to offer coverage to everyone, insurers are forced to either hike up their prices significantly or drop out of the market to avoid suffering massive losses. As a result, many areas of the country are left with little to no choice on Obamacare’s marketplaces.

Already, 32 percent of U.S. counties only had one insurer to choose from during Obamacare’s most recent open enrollment period. According to The New York Times, a likely Anthem departure would leave “coverage gaps in substantial parts of Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Colorado, as well as smaller holes in other states.”

Millions of Americans are desperate for relief from Obamacare’s higher costs and fewer choices, and the best way to start delivering that relief is to eliminate all of Obamacare’s insurance mandates and regulations. In addition, Congress can increase access to affordable, quality health care by passing targeted solutions that reduce costs and give patients more control of their health care.

Click here to learn more about Freedom Partners’ targeted approach to health care reform.