Obamacare losers aren’t people, they’re statistics

Obamacare losers aren’t people, they’re statistics

Long before the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, became law in 2010, insurers began replacing fixed-dollar co-payments for the drugs with co-insurance rates that require consumers to pay a percentage of the cost of specialty medicines.

Insurers say they had to move toward greater cost-sharing due to higher prices for new drugs, some of which can cost more than $100,000 annually per patient.

Researchers also say the higher rates help insurers bankroll low monthly premiums to attract healthy young enrollees. …

“In the past, we’ve seen 10 or 20 percent coinsurance rates. Now we’re seeing 30, 40 and 50 percent. So patients are being asked to bear more of the cost,” said Brian Rosen, senior vice president for public policy at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which commissioned actuarial firm Milliman Inc to study the new plans.

“Patients are going to spend their entire out-of-pocket cap before they ever see a dime from the insurance company,” he added. …

Among people with preexisting conditions, winners and losers have emerged from Obama’s overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system. Nearly 4 million people have signed up for the Obamacare plans, and the enrollment period for 2014 ends on March 31.

One of the winners is Robert Ruffino, who is among the 1.1 million Americans who suffer from blood cancer. The 45-year-old sales manager from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has had chronic myelogenous leukemia for a decade. …

Among the people who say they have suffered since the healthcare law went into effect, Emilie Lamb has become one of the faces of Americans for Prosperity’s attack on Obamacare. …

She now has a $373 monthly premium, no deductible and a $1,500 cap on out-of-pocket expenses, but the higher cost requires her to work a second job. Lamb, who voted for Obama because she wanted healthcare reform, called the law a disaster.

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