1. The healthcare.gov web site does not even let one access Catastrophic plans if one is over the age of 30. The shadow website, thehealthsherpa.com does not permit one to do so either probably because it was thought that the number of persons qualifying over 30 would be extremely small. When I just tried to chat with healthcare.gov and get the answer, I was told ” Sorry, Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat isn’t available right now. We’re having technical problems.” I have thus not yet been able to figure out what the prices are for someone over 30 with one of the new “hardship” exemptions. If anyone can figure out what prices over-age hardship exemption folks pay for a section 1302 Catastrophic Plan, please contact me.
2. How many people have purchased these Catastrophic plans anyway? The federal government has not released metal tier distribution data, but the data from a few states suggests that it is an extremely low number. Many under the age of 30 can stay on their parents plans and others find that it is not much better than a Bronze Plan or, under some circumstances, a worse deal. I would bet that the overall number of Catastrophic Plan enrollees thus far is less than 20,000. There is no subsidy for Catastrophic Plans. What would actually happen if people took advantage of the Secretary’s hardship exemption and instead of just pocketing the tax savings, these older insureds purchased these Catastrophic Plans. Could be the over 50s could end up being a greater number than the under 30s. We will see if I ever get an answer to question 1 above, but I suspect the insurance industry did not price the policies on the assumption that older enrollees would predominate.
I’m in the middle of a major posting and my day job so I have not had the ability to post anything particularly insightful in the past 24 hours or so. But others have been writing good stuff. So here’s a compendium of Affordable Care Act / Adverse Selection stuff worth reading. I’m hoping to have the big post out tomorrow or maybe late tonight.
Excellent visuals on enrollment in the Exchanges by states. From this article in the Washington Post.
An Exchange website worse than healthcare.gov? It’s possible. And it’s a sitting Duck for criticism. Read about it here.
A dissection of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s statistical nonsense about the California enrollment numbers. Krugman echoes the meme that where the websites are working, the young are signing up in the Exchanges. James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal joins my posts here and here in showing that the evidence does not support this point and exposes with some precision exactly Mr. Krugman’s path of sophistry. Note to Mr. Krugman: there are other states with working websites. Have you looked at the enrollment picture there?
An article from KUOW providing anecdotal evidence that the substitution of subsidized Exchange policies for canceled private insurance may in many instances be welcomed by insureds — particularly those who have had high medical expenses. If you ignore for a moment the tax costs of providing the subsidies — which is close to but not quite the equivalent of the macabre “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” joke — the ACA has made some people better off. The harder question is whether one gets much bang for the buck with the ACA.
Exploring the likely implosion of the Affordable Care Act