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NewAlchemist (66.20)

The Obamacare headwind.



March 22, 2013 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: UNH , AET

The market has been worried about tax increases, debt ceiling, sequester, and Europe but you haven't heard a lot of concerns over Obamacare.  Obamacare is supposed to start Janruary 1, 2014.  I believe as we get closer to the end of the year and it is talked about on TV more, the market grow more concerned.  Right now it is out of sight out of mind.  The big story in the market is the new highs of the market.


from yahoo - Obamacare: 3-Years-Old and Still Growing.

The single largest piece of regulation ever passed has grown 10-fold in its short life, to more than 20,000 pages standing seven feet tall,  since the President signed it into law on March 23, 2010.

"We're nowhere near the implementation of the Affordable Care Act," says Paul Keckley, Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, in the attached video. Putting aside price and the many other practical questions that surround the law for a moment, Keckley says the creation of State-run insurance exchanges and the expansion of medicaid are the two major logistical obstacles that still need to be cleared.

from WSJ - Health Insurers warn on Premiums.

In a private presentation to brokers late last month, UnitedHealth Group Inc., UNH -1.15% the nation's largest carrier, said premiums for some consumers buying their own plans could go up as much as 116%, and small-business rates as much as 25% to 50%.

Aetna Inc., AET -0.85% in a presentation last fall to its national broker advisory council, suggested rates on individual plans not being grandfathered under the law could go up 55%, on average, and gave a figure of 29% for small business rates. 

An official with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina told a gathering of brokers last week that individual premiums could go up by as much as 40% to 50%, according to brokers who were present. A spokeswoman for the insurer said "we don't have final numbers" yet on premiums.

Insurers are "not being shy that premiums are going to increase in 2014," and are urging brokers to "brace our clients," said John Lacy, vice president of group benefits at Bouchard Insurance, a brokerage in Clearwater, Fla. His firm has been hearing from carrier representatives that individual premiums in Florida could go up 35% to 50%, on average, and small-business rates around 30%, though it hopes to find strategies to blunt the impact.

From Huffington Post - Applying for Obamacare May Be As Difficult As Doing Taxes And "Enormously Time Consuming".

The government's draft application runs 15 pages for a three-person family. An outline of the online version has 21 steps, some with additional questions.

At least three major federal agencies, including the IRS, will scrutinize your application. Checking your identity, income and citizenship is supposed to happen in real time, if you apply online.

And it's a mandate, not a suggestion. The law says virtually all Americans must carry health insurance starting next year, although most will just keep the coverage they now have through their jobs, Medicare or Medicaid.

"This lengthy draft application will take a considerable amount of time to fill out and will be difficult for many people to be able to complete," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group supporting the health care law.

"When you combine those two processes, it is enormously time consuming and complex," added Pollack. He's calling for the government to simplify the form and, more important, for an army of counselors to help uninsured people navigate the new system. It's unclear who would pay for these navigators.

Drafts of the paper application and a 60-page description of the online version were quietly posted online by the Health and Human Services Department, seeking feedback from industry and consumer groups. Those materials, along with a recent HHS presentation to insurers, run counter to the vision of simplicity promoted by administration officials.



The U3 unemployment rate is 7.7%, the more accurate U6 unemployment rate is 14.3%.  What happens when small business insurance rates go up 25 to 50%?  What happens when private insurance increases up to 116%?  What happens to employment and what happens to consumer spending?

The WSJ article cites a businessman trying to blunt the impact of the rate increases.  Nobody could possibly read the 20,000 pages of legislation but people are already saying that a business with 49 employees has no incentive at all to hire a 50th worker.  You have restaurants talking about cutting waiters/waitresses hours due to Obamacare.  Some business owners have threatened to shut down. 

The law goes into effect in less than 10 months and isn't even ready yet.  The talking heads on CNBC aren't talking about this much but they will be closer to year end.

1 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 27, 2013 at 7:36 PM, ChrisGraley (28.68) wrote:

Never let a liberal be in charge of anything that has to do with money.

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