Aetna: 30% of Obamacare signups have dropped since May

Thirty percent of Obamacare signups have dropped since May.

Maybe because Obamacare is too expensive, has freakishly high deductibles, and the job market is a disaster.

Via The Daily Caller:

The number of Obamacare enrollments for top health insurer Aetna is plummeting, according to a report from Investor’s Business Daily.

Aetna’s enrollment reached 720,000 by May 20, after the final end to the the extended open enrollment period. But by the end of June Aetna had less than 600,000 paying customers, IBD reports, and the company expects paying customers to fall to “just over 500,000″ by the end of 2015. That would be a drop of just under 30 percent from the May sign-up numbers — the last time the Obama administration released its official Obamacare enrollment tally.

Aetna’s reported drop-off rate appears to be more extensive than other companies. Cigna reported that between both its exchange customers and those in the private individual market, it expects to lose around 20,000 paying customers throughout the year, out of 300,000.

The federal government released monthly enrollment reports throughout Obamacare’s first open enrollment period, but stopped offering details when widespread enrollment ended in mid-May. But Americans with certain qualifying life changes can still sign up for coverage on an Obamacare exchange at any time, and customers are regularly dropping coverage as well.

But the administration refuses to give out any details on the total enrollment and has never released information on the percentage of Obamacare sign-ups that followed through and paid their first premiums to activate their coverage. Most insurance companies have reported that by the end of the open enrollment period, only around 85 percent of those who signed up on Obamacare exchanges ended up buying a health insurance plan.

Forbes: Obamacare Has Increased Non-Group Premiums In Nearly All States

Via Forbes Magazine:

Now There Can Be No Doubt: Obamacare Has Increased Non-Group Premiums In Nearly All States

Remember this categorical assurance from President Obama?

“We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year. .  .  . We’ll do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States”

OK, it’s probably a little unfair to take some June 2008 campaign “puffery” literally–even though it was reiterated by candidate Obama’s economic policy advisor, Jason Furman in a sit-down with a New York Times reporter: “‘We think we could get to $2,500 in savings by the end of the first term, or be very close to it.” Moreover, President Obama subsequently doubled-down on his promise in July 2012, assuring small business owners “your premiums will go down.”  Fortunately, the Washington Post fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, honestly awarded the 2012 claim Three Pinocchios (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions”).

Unfortunately, this has never settled the debate. When the Society of Actuaries estimated spring 2013 that the ACA would result in increasing claims costs by an average of 32 percent nationally by 2017, such estimates could be dismissed as “projections” since at the time of this study, actual premiums in the Exchanges had not yet been announced.  A subsequent plethora of studies showed there had been double-digit increases in premiums (when comparing actual Exchange premiums to previously-prevailing premiums in the non-group market). However, virtually all of these studies focused only on Exchange premiums rather than premiums in the entire non-group market (only half of which consists of Exchange coverage). As a consequence, Obamacare proponents tended to dismiss these studies either as partisan attacks or methodologically limited, making what amounts to apples-to-oranges comparisons.

However, a new study from the well-respected and non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research (and published by Brookings Institution), overcomes the limitations of these prior studies by examining what happened to premiums in the entire non-group market. The bottom line? In 2014, premiums in the non-group market grew by 24.4% compared to what they would have been without Obamacare.  Of equal importance, this careful state-by-state assessment showed that premiums rose in all but 6 states (including Washington DC).  It’s worth unpacking this study a bit to understand the ramification of these findings.

Non-Group Premiums Rose in 45 States Due to Obamacare

The non-group market can only be accurately assessed on a state-by-state basis. Obamacare. The law creates a single risk pool in each state for non-group coverage. That is, health insurers can sell policies inside or outside the Exchanges but they all are part of the same risk pool.  Unlike virtually all other studies that have been conducted to date, this new study examined premium data from both Exchange and non-Exchange plans, i.e., providing a picture of the complete non-group market rather than one segment.  This is crucially important since in nearly one third of states (16), Exchange coverage constitutes 40% or less of the entire non-group market (Table 1).

Of equal importance, unlike prior studies which simply compared pre-Obamacare premiums in 2013 to actual premiums offered on Exchanges in 2014, this new study isolates the causal impact of Obamacare statistically by using trend data in each state to figure out what non-group premiums in 2014 would have been in the absence of Obamacare. Thus, critics could dismiss many other so-called “pre-/post” studies by effectively saying “Well, premiums in the non-group have always gone up by a large amount, so what’s happening under Obamacare is no different.”  Such criticisms cannot be levied at this study. All of the percentage changes shown in the chart below represent the net change attributable to Obamacare after accounting for all the other factors that would have made premiums go up.[1]

PremiumIncreasesKowalski

Clearly, the adverse impact of Obamacare on non-group premiums varies sizably across states. The law is estimated to result in lower premiums in only 6 states. However, it should be noted that while the author presented premium estimates for California and New Jersey, the data for these two states is incomplete due to anomalous data reporting requirements. Thus, the large estimated premium decline of 37.5% in New Jersey likely would be different were full data available, but there is no way of telling by how much.

What is disturbing is to see premium increases in excess of 35% in 9 states, including some of the nation’s largest states (Florida and Texas). Remember, these are increases above and beyond normal premium trends.  No one can credibly claim that these massive premium increases would have happened anyway since the study was specifically designed to isolate the law’s impacts from all the other factors that have driven up premiums in recent years.

Taxpayers Will Pay About 24% More for Exchange Subsidies Due to Obamacare-induced Premium Increases.

Continue Reading HERE.

Senator Dick Durbin to Walgreens: Stay in Illinois or else….

Senator Durbin is the second most powerful Democrat in the Senate. Illinois has the highest taxes in America so companies are leaving in droves. Time to whip out the thug card….

National Review:

Score another victory this week for the Senate’s lead political thug, Dick Durbin. The second-highest-ranking Senate Democrat and lead political henchman coerced retail giant Walgreens to stay in Illinois and not move as planned to Switzerland.

The government’s intimidation campaign against Walgreens was so heavy-handed that it would make Richard Nixon blush. Walgreens was set to move in order to reduce its tax liability and avoid the 40 percent income tax rate it pays as an Illinois-based corporation. This would have saved the company and its mostly American shareholders an estimated $4 billion over five years.

But back in July Mr. Durbin sent an astounding letter to Walgreens CEO Gregory Wasson warning the company, and demanding that it abandon its plans to relocate.

He lambasted the company’s move as a “clever tax dodge,” and threatened that “deeply patriotic” customers would not “support Walgreen’s decision to turn its back on the United States.” He added, subtly, that “nearly all of your $2.5 billion in profits earned last year were from sales to U.S. taxpaying customers.”

That was followed by other threats of political retaliation. “Much of Walgreens financial success was built on programs and infrastructure provided by the U.S. government” and “the future success of Walgreens will continue to depend on U.S. taxpayers and government-funded programs.” Just in case Mr. Wasson didn’t get the point, he reminded him that “nearly 25% of Walgreens profits were from U.S-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

Unfortunately, our elected officials in Congress now feel they have the political power to carry out these threats with impunity.

Now Mr. Durbin is celebrating the Walgreens shakedown. The big losers here were the shareholders — including thousands and thousands of middle class Americans — whose retirement funds include Walgreens stock. The stock fell in the 24 hours after the announcement by more than 10 percent and so shareholders lost at least $6 billion on the announcement. That’s a lot of financial wreckage from one single senator.

In case there is any doubt that Mr. Durbin’s threats were heard, the statement by Walgreens about why it was not moving after all was revealing. The firm cited big risks of “consumer backlash and political ramifications, including the risk to our government book of business.” In other words: We got your message, Mr. Durbin.