A Bad Deal Gets Worse

June 18, 2010 07:13

Obamacare is already damaging the individual insurance market.

BY Beth Henary Watson at The Weekly Standard

Hostility to the individual health insurance market and its less pleasant features, including medical underwriting, permeated President Obama’s crusade for health care reform. Although Obama-care ultimately will outlaw underwriting based on health history, it will increase the number of people responsible for obtaining their own coverage. As costs continue to rise and new taxes go into effect leading up to 2014, the year the individual mandate kicks in, many individual health insurance consumers who previously were winners in the health care marketplace will find themselves on the losing side.

Take Obamacare’s provision that premium price differentials based on age under the new state exchanges may not exceed a 3 to 1 ratio. Devon M. Herrick, a health economist at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, calls this a “large cross-subsidy”: The young and healthy will subsidize older people and those with more health problems.

“If you are an early retiree, you might love the idea,” Herrick notes. “If you are a 22-year-old college graduate trying to freelance, you might not.”


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