This Week's Forecasts & Trends E-Letter
Exploding Healthcare Costs Are Out Of Control
February 9, 2016
Today I want to address the soaring costs of healthcare, which are rising far more than the Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services will admit. While I personally don’t consider healthcare costs to be a political issue, many argue that it is indeed a political issue with regard to “Obamacare.”
When talking to friends and colleagues, the most frequent comment I get is something like: Obamacare health insurance premiums are much higher than the government says they are – what gives? Today, I will answer that question with some new facts from an independent non-profit on healthcare premiums around the country. Prepare to be surprised.
The Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced on January 21 that healthcare premiums on the Affordable Care Act exchanges rose an average of only 9% from 2015 to 2016. That was highly misleading since the HHS data covered less than half of all consumers buying healthcare on the federal exchanges in the last year.
The real premium increases, almost across-the-board, are substantially higher in most states this year. A new, independent report from the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce includes the weighted-average premiums for all plans available on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.
The findings will shock you, or maybe not, if you have recently renewed your healthcare coverage. In that case, you may already know, especially depending on where you live. In any event, that’s what we’ll talk about today.
We will also talk about how healthcare costs are by far the fastest growing subset of the US economy. And that’s putting it lightly. The increase in healthcare cost almost doubled the next fastest growing sector’s cost growth last year. Can you say, out-of-control?
But before we get to that discussion, let’s take a look at last Friday’s unemployment report for January. The headline unemployment rate dropped to 4.9%, the lowest level since early 2008, but some of the internal numbers were mixed or disappointing.