Bruce Arthurs on the Affordable Care Act

My friend Bruce Arthurs has written a brief but interesting piece on his blog about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that I recommend. Here’s the link.

Among other things, Bruce mentions a couple of instructive examples: someone who had got very little medical care until the ACA came along, and someone else who initially thought an ACA policy would be unaffordable until an ACA counselor pointed out a mistake the person had made on the application, so that previously uninsured person is now covered as well.

I have, on the other hand, encountered cases of people who buy their own health insurance and whose premiums have gone up quite a bit. The question is why.

Where is the extra money going? To the government. No, taxes on insurance companies haven’t increased. To insurance company profits and overhead? No, in fact the law requires that companies refund to the customers premium costs that end up exceeding a certain percentage of what the companies spend on medical care? To higher charges from doctors and hospitals? Actually, health care price inflation has been very low recently.

The only explanation seems to be that the new law puts minimum requirements on health insurance, and some of the older, cheaper policies sold to individual purchasers just weren’t very good insurance. They might have offered some good-sounding benefits up front (low co-pays and the like), but what they’d pay for serious, expensive conditions was another matter. Real insurance just turns out to cost more than relatively crappy insurance.

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