November 21, 2017

THE UNAFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS AN UNQUALIFIED DISASTER!: Crash And Burn! “Time To Put It Out Of It’s Misery” UPDATE: Even Insured Get Hit With Unexpectedly Large Medical Bills – T.D.P.

Where else can you be Forced to pay for a Debt Based Medical Plan that puts you in debt as soon as you use it, that is the 3rd and 4th leading cause of death in your country, and then…THEY RAISE THE PRICE$!

You get About 1,020,000,000 results (0.66 seconds), if you google “UN-AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PART. 3”. That’s 1.02 Trillion results. 1 Trillion 20 Billion hits, to be exact.

There aren’t that many people on Earth. So yeah, this is a topic people are interested in. Whenever you take money out of people’s pocket’s and give them “Forced” Medical Debt, Deathcare and Rising Prices in return, you have to expect this kind of thing.

crash burn soc

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THE UNAFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS AN UNQUALIFIED DISASTER

President Obama declared that Affordable Care Act would not add one dime to the national debt. President Obama declared that every family in America would see their annual premiums go down by $2,500. President Obama declared that 30 million uninsured Americans would now be covered.

Does anyone ever get held accountable for their promises in this country?

My annual healthcare costs have risen by an average of 10% per year since the Affordable Care Act was implemented, and I work for a large institution. Millions have lost coverage or have seen their costs double or triple.

The assumptions put forth by the government were bogus, so premiums for the actual Affordable Care Act plans are going up 20% to 50% per year.

No liberal ever mentions the fact that deductibles for the cheapest Affordable Care Act plans run from $5,000 to $10,000. How many middle class people can pay those deductibles?

And the coup de grace. Only 10 million people are signed up for the Affordable Care Act, and most of them had coverage before it came along.

The Affordable Care Act is a disaster and will only get worse as time goes on. The Medicaid system is being swamped and the bankrupt states will become more bankrupt.

Government destroying our lives, a day at a time. So it goes.

Unaffordable-Health-Care-Act

Guest Post by Michael Tanner

As we await the Supreme Court’s decision on subsidies, an interim report. We haven’t heard much about the Affordable Care Act from the media lately (with the exception of Paul Krugman, who slips a paragraph into every other column — regardless of topic — to tell us how well it’s working). It’s as if both supporters and opponents of the health-care law are holding their collective breaths as they wait for the Supreme Court, which is expected to decide any day now whether the law will be able to survive in its current form.

Affordable Care Act opponents have mostly been caucusing behind closed doors trying to decide whether and when to offer an alternative — and how much to offer — should the Court require the law to be implemented as written — that is, without subsidies on federally run exchanges.

The law’s advocates, meanwhile, may have been left speechless by the news that the Affordable Care Act has tied an all-time low for public support, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. Just 39 percent of registered voters back the law, tying an all-time low last reached in April 2012. Fifty-four percent oppose it, and while that’s not a record, it represents a six-point increase in opposition over the past year.

Or maybe the law’s supporters simply have little response to the ongoing spate of news suggesting that, Krugman notwithstanding, the law is still not working very well. For example, insurance companies have begun submitting their requests for rate increases for 2016, and those requests suggest that premiums could skyrocket next year.

Already we’ve seen requests for increases for individual plans as high as 64.8 percent in Texas, 61 percent in Pennsylvania, 51.6 percent in New Mexico, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon, and 19.9 percent in Washington.

Those increases would come on top of premium increases last year that were 24.4 percent above what they would have been without the Affordable Care Act, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. At the same time, deductibles for the cheapest Affordable Care Act plans now average about $5,180 for individuals and $10,500 for families.

In fairness, those rate-hike requests are just that — requests. State regulators are likely to trim them back, significantly in some cases. And other insurers in those states may be seeking smaller increases. We haven’t seen any data weighting increases by the number of people covered, so we should be careful about overstating the impact.

In addition, many people are insulated from the true cost by the law’s subsidies, which is what makes the upcoming Court decision so important. Still, to recall P. J. O’Rourke’s famous dictum, if we thought health insurance was expensive before, look at it now that it is free.

New evidence also suggests that the Affordable Care Act is struggling to meet its goals for covering the uninsured. According to a report in Investor’s Business Daily, the Obama administration estimates that roughly 10.2 million people have enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans and paid at least one month’s premium. This meets the White House’s revised sign-up goal announced late last year, though it falls below the Congressional Budget Office’s earlier projections.

The CBO had originally projected some 12 million sign-ups through 2015, later lowering that estimate to 11 million. So, while we should recognize that the Affordable Care Act has significantly increased coverage, there clearly is a long way to go.

A very long way, in fact. The CBO still hopes for 21 million enrollees next year, which would mean more than doubling current sign-up levels. Anyone see that happening? But failure to meet those numbers would mean that the Affordable Care Act would continue to flirt with the possibility of an adverse-selection “death spiral,” which could take down the entire insurance market.

Already, insurance companies are warning that exchange enrollment is weighted too heavily toward sicker and older patients. And the Republican Congress is unlikely to renew bailouts designed to protect insurance companies from such adverse selection.

Of course these numbers do not count the nearly 7 million people who signed up for Medicaid because of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the program. But given the increasing evidence that Medicaid provides dubious value in terms of health outcomes, how this will affect federal and state budgets remains an open question.

To cite just one example, getting poor people enrolled in Medicaid was supposed to reduce the strain on overburdened emergency rooms, by steering patients toward primary and preventive care. But the low physician-reimbursement rates under Medicaid mean that few physicians will treat Medicaid patients. As a result, emergency-room visits have actually increased under the Affordable Care Act.

Very soon the Supreme Court will rule on the Affordable Care Act subsidies. But for the law as a whole, the verdict is already in. By almost any measure, the Affordable Care Act is a failure.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419526/report-card-Affordable Care Act-michael-tanner

Posted on 10th June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

SOURCE: [ theburningplatform.com/2015/06/10/the-unaffordable-care-act-is-an-unqualified-disaster ]

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Why I’m actually considering going without health insurance for the first time in 20 years.

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A family of four in Louisville Kentucky had their monthly premium on a high deductible policy from Humana triple from $333 a month to $965 due to the requirements of Obamacare

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health care card

Even Insured Consumers Get Hit With Unexpectedly Large Medical Bills
Out-of-network doctors and other loopholes can hike up the price of care.

Having health insurance does not necessarily protect against medical bankruptcy, consumer advocates say.

After Pam Durocher was diagnosed with breast cancer, she searched her insurer’s website for a participating surgeon to do the reconstructive surgery.

Having done her homework, she was stunned to get a $10,000 bill from the surgeon.

“I panicked when I got that bill,” said the 60-year-old retired civil servant who lives near Roseville, Calif.

Like Durocher, many consumers who take pains to research which doctors and hospitals participate in their plans can still end up with huge bills.

Sometimes, that’s because they got incorrect or incomplete information from their insurer or health-care provider. Sometimes, it’s because a physician has multiple offices, and not all are in network, as in Durocher’s case. Sometimes, it’s because a participating hospital relies on out-of-network doctors, including emergency room physicians, anesthesiologists and radiologists.

Consumer advocates say the sheer scope of such problems undermine promises made by proponents of the Affordable Care Act that the law would protect against medical bankruptcy.

“It’s not fair and probably not legal that consumers be left holding the bag when an out-of-network doctor treats them,” said Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University. Jost said it’s a different matter if a consumer knowingly chooses an out-of-network doctor.

Durocher learned only after getting her surgeon’s bill that just one of his two offices participated in her plan and she had chosen the wrong one. She said the doctor’s staff later insisted that they had raised the issue during her initial consultation, but she doesn’t recall that, possibly because she was distracted by her cancer diagnosis.

Adding insult to injury, insurers are not required to count out-of-network charges toward the federal health law’s annual limit on how much of their medical costs patients can be asked to pay out of their own pockets.

Efforts by doctors, hospitals and other health providers to charge patients for bills not covered by their insurers are called “balance billing.” The problem pre-dates the federal health law and has long been among the top complaints filed with state insurance regulators.

Because the issue is complex and pits powerful rivals against one another— among them, hospitals, doctors and insurers— relatively few states have addressed it. What laws do exist are generally limited to specific situations, such as emergency room care, or certain types of insurance plans, such as HMOs.

The federal health law largely sidesteps the issue as well. It says insurers must include coverage for emergency care and not charge policyholders higher copayments for ER services at non-network hospitals, because patients can’t always choose where they go. While the insurer will pay a portion of the bill, in such cases, doctors or hospitals may still bill patients for the difference between that payment and their own charges.

That means that in spite of having insurance, a consumer involved in a car wreck and taken to a non-network hospital might receive additional bills, not just from the hospital, but from the radiologist who read his X-rays, the surgeon who repaired his broken leg and the laboratory that processed his blood tests.

Networks Get Narrower

Advocates believe a growing number of consumers are vulnerable to balance billing as insurance networks grow smaller in the bid to hold down costs.

For example, there were no in-network emergency room physicians or anesthesiologists in some of the hospitals participating in plans offered by three large insurers in Texas in 2013 and 2014, according to a survey of state data by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a Texas advocacy group.

Smaller networks are also becoming more common in employer-based insurance: About 23 percent of job-based plans had so-called “narrow networks” in 2012, up from 15 percent in 2007, according to a May report from the Urban Institute and Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

To protect consumers, advocacy groups, including Consumers Union and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, want regulators to strictly limit balance billing when an insured person gets care in a medical facility that is part of an insurer’s network.

“Without protection from balance billing, the cost of out-of-network care can be overwhelming,” wrote Consumers Union in a recent letter to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which is updating a model law that states could adopt to regulate insurance networks.

NAIC’S current draft does not directly address the issue of balance billing and consumer efforts have drawn sharp opposition from insurers, hospitals and doctors.

Some states have taken other steps to protect consumers:

Earlier this month, California set out new rules requiring some insurers to provide accurate lists of medical providers in their networks.

New Jersey specifies that insurers guarantee that certain providers be available “within 20 miles or 30 minutes average driving time.”

Colorado insurers must pay non-network medical providers their full charges, not discounted network rates, for care at in-network hospitals.

In Maryland, insurers must pay for “covered services,” which includes emergency care, but the state sets standardized payment rates.

Starting in April, New Yorkers won’t face extra bills for out-of-network emergency care, when an in-network provider is unavailable or when they aren’t told ahead of time that they may be treated by a non-participating provider. Instead, the bills must be settled in arbitration between the providers and the insurance companies.
Cost Trade-Offs

Insurers defend the move to smaller networks of doctors and hospitals as a way to provide the low-cost plans that consumers say they want. Since insurers can no longer reject enrollees with health problems or charge them more, the plans are using the tools left to them to reduce costs.

If regulators required them to fully cover charges by out-of-network doctors, that could reduce “incentives for providers to participate in networks” and make it harder to have adequate networks, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the insurers’ trade group, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association wrote in a joint letter to the NAIC.

It would also raise premiums.

Instead, AHIP says, states could require out-of-network doctors to accept a benchmark payment from insurers, perhaps what Medicare pays, rather than balance billing patients.

Physicians, meanwhile, blame insurers for inadequate networks.

“It is the limited coverage, not the physician bill, which is the cause of the unfairness,” the Texas Medical Association wrote to the NAIC.

At the very least, doctors and hospitals say insurers need to do a better job of educating policyholders that their plans may not cover care provided by some doctors and hospitals.

“There’s no ‘free’ anywhere,” said Lee Spangler, vice president of medical economics with the Texas Medical Association. “You either pay for the coverage through premiums, or you pay for service when you receive it.”

Doctors choose whether to balance bill, he added – and some don’t.

But he noted that patients “have received professional services in the expectation that they will get alleviation of what ailed them, and the physicians provided it in the expectation they would be paid. There’s no in between,” Spangler said.

For patients like Durocher, who got billed even after doing everything she was told, the only recourse is to negotiate with the physician or hospital to ask them to lower or drop the charges.

“Fortunately for me,” Durocher said, “this doctor was very nice and wrote off almost $7,000 of the bill.”

How To Protect Yourself From “Balance” Bills
1) Do Your Homework. Check your insurer’s website to verify that the hospital or doctor you want to use is listed, and then call the provider to be sure. Use in-network providers whenever possible. Be aware that some health-care providers may be in-network only at specific offices. Make sure you go to the right one.

2) Be aware you could be billed by an out-of-network doctor even at an in-network hospital. Some plans will cover those costs fully, especially for emergency care, but many do not. When possible, request a network doctor, anesthesiologist or specialist in advance of elective surgery. But accept that it’s not possible once you’re in the hospital to screen every doctor who comes into your room for their network affiliation. If you are billed by a non-network provider, call your plan to find out if it will cover the bill because you were at an in-network hospital.

3) If you get a balance bill, double-check to make sure the doctor or hospital is not part of your network. If they are not in your plan, check with your state insurance regulator to see if there are rules that might protect you, especially in an emergency situation. Ask the doctor or hospital to reconsider. If they won’t, complain to your health plan and whoever regulates it, as well as to your state’s consumer assistance program, if there is one.

4) Negotiate. If there are no plan policies or state rules to prevent the billing, negotiate with the providers to lower their charges to an amount close to what an insurance plan would pay. Your insurer’s website might have pricing information that can help. Websites, such as Fair Health or Health Care Bluebook can also help determine the prices of various procedures.

Feb. 19, 2015 | 11:53 a.m. EST + More
Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News