Study: Yep, early ObamaCare enrollees are sicker than average

posted at 2:41 pm on April 9, 2014 by Allahpundit

Tantalizing circumstantial evidence about the demographic mix in the new ObamaCare exchange risk pools. The more those pools are dominated by the old and sick, the higher premiums will have to be next year to cover the cost of their expensive treatments. The X factor here, though, is that the study includes data only from people whose coverage was in effect in January and February. All the sign-ups in March before the deadline are missing from the picture, an important detail since it’s widely assumed that lots of healthy young “knuckleheads” waited until the last minute to enroll. If that’s true then the early crush of sick people might be manageable; premiums paid by twentysomething latecomers who don’t need much medicare care will simply be applied to paying for the sick, easing costs next year. If it’s not true, premiums are headed up, up, and away, and O-Care’s in trouble.

What makes this study significant, then, isn’t that it’s a surprise. No one’s surprised to find that the very ill rushed to get coverage once guaranteed issue went into effect. What makes it significant is that it seems to confirm that the healthy did, to some extent, hold back during early enrollment. Did they show up later or was that a bust too? Your health-care costs next year partly depend on the answer.

People who signed up early for insurance through the new marketplaces were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat pain, depression and H.I.V. and were less likely to need contraceptives, according to a new study that provides a much-anticipated look at the population that signed up for coverage under the new health care law…

Julie Huppert, vice president for health care reform at Express Scripts, said she expected to see the picture change as the year progressed. But she said this early glimpse was crucial for insurers, which were already setting their rates for next year…

The study found that six of the 10 most costly drugs in the marketplace plans, in terms of total spending, were specialty drugs, in contrast to four of the top 10 drugs in employer plans. The higher use of specialty drugs could point to additional health care costs, some said.

“The medication is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Daniel N. Mendelson, chief executive of the consulting firm Avalere Health. “What goes along with that is a need for physician visits and, often, hospitalizations associated with complications from the conditions.”

Here’s a quickie two-page breakdown from Express Scripts of their key findings. Note the table comparing conditions for which ObamaCare customers sought treatment to conditions treated among all other insured. Contraceptives are notably lower for O-Care users than for the rest of the population, a clue about the average age of the exchange risk pools circa March 1. More comparison details from Kaiser:

-More than 6 in every 1,000 prescriptions were for an HIV drug, a rate four times that of employer plans.

-HIV/AIDS drugs Atripla and Truvada ranked in the top 10 for total amounts spent on drugs but did not hit the top 10 in spending among the comparison group.

-Sovaldi, an $84,000 treatment approved in December to treat hepatitis C, came in second for total spending, while it ranked No. 8 in the comparison group.

-The volume of pain medication was 35 percent higher; drugs to control seizures were 27 percent higher and antidepressants were 14 percent higher. Conversely, birth control prescriptions were 31 percent lower.

The Hepatitis C drug, in particular, is fantastically expensive at $1,000 per pill; the number of Americans with the disease is upwards of three million. That, in microcosm, is why O decided that bantering with Zach Galifianakis for a few minutes was worth doing. Anything he could do to get the attention, and later the money, of young invincibles by convincing them to sign up and help pay for all this was worth doing. Can’t wait to find out how he did when HHS finally releases the demographic data on enrollees.

Then again, maybe there’s another way to keep costs down. In lieu of an exit question, via Jim Geraghty, I’ll leave you with this:

As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.


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Gambling going on in Casablanca

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM

. All the sign-ups in March before the deadline are missing from the picture,

Maybe because they don’t actually exist?

rbj on April 9, 2014 at 2:46 PM

You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.

Respect for doctors higher than usual

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM

People who signed up early for insurance through the new marketplaces were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat pain, depression and H.I.V

H.I.V. makes the cut, here? That’s bad. How often do you hear H.I.V. mentioned in anything about health care and the general population? Never. How many people (heterosexual) have anything to do with H.I.V? Close to none … even though the homo mafia and leftist scum tried to scare heterosexuals for years that AIDs was not just a homo disease … right.

Yeah, we all knew that these were some sick birds who were rushing to the laughable excuse for a web site that comprises the various feral exchanges, but the fact that they’re sick enough birds to warrant a specific mention of H.I.V. … damn!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

That picture is perfect, except it misses the fly.

Bmore, take it away. Make the fly really big.

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

The moocher is dead now.

I want to know who’ll pay for her funeral.

If the obamas don’t take care of their own family, why do you think they’d mind if NO one is better off with obama’care’.

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Two predictions-

That last minute rush of those darned healthy procrastinating Millenials will prove to have been engineered by OFA or somebody. The Obamacare rolls are currently filled with Mickey Mouse, Tinkerbell, and lizardman. The number of actual enrollees is way less than 7.1M and the number of those who have and will continue to pay is much lower still.

Secondly, that the administration was so focused on cooking the enrollment numbers they will stumble when it comes to actually dealing with people living (and dying) under Obamacare. The billing will sporadic, if at all. Enrollees will be unable to find providers- especially specialists. And there will be further changes as the filthy rat-eared coward’s minions try and keep Potemkin Village together until after the 2014 elections.

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Happy Nomad on April 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

No – Nurse Ratched/Sebelius gave the Medicare list, with all the info on it, to the keypunchers, to initiate the sign-up proces, for millions, likely. This is a developing story.

A few days later quite a few people kept calling radio stations, saying that they received this note “Please complete your obama’care’ sign-up process”, when they never had started it. Think about this and, if in the media, follow up, er.

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM

-More than 6 in every 1,000 prescriptions were for an HIV drug, a rate four times that of employer plans.

-HIV/AIDS drugs Atripla and Truvada ranked in the top 10 for total amounts spent on drugs but did not hit the top 10 in spending among the comparison group.

-Sovaldi, an $84,000 treatment approved in December to treat hepatitis C, came in second for total spending, while it ranked No. 8 in the comparison group.

WTF?

Out: Obamacare.

In: Gaycare.

Can we finally have that debate about the healthfulness of sodomy?

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Pay cash for routine check ups and sign up for a Medical Sharing Ministries to avoid the tax penalty. Everyone should boycott this program.

jawkneemusic on April 9, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one.

That’s one of many unhappy surprises a lot of new Obamacare “beneficiaries” are going to be getting. As with Medicaid and Medicare, having the nice new benefit card doesn’t guarantee that you’ll ever actually benefit from it. Before that can happen, you’ll have to find a sucker . . . er, doctor, to accept you as a patient. As this guy found out, that can be a time-consuming and frustrating exercise.

I wonder how many other O-Care “beneficiaries” are going to be willing to call 96 different doctors’ offices before finding one who’ll accept him. I also wonder how desperately ill one would have to be to be willing to call 96 different doctors’ offices.

AZCoyote on April 9, 2014 at 2:55 PM

One more argument that the reality based people on the right said would happen has happened.

I’m going out on a limb here but I bet this Obama-democrat Care ends up adding just a wee bit to the deficit and will possibly make premiums for the rest of us to skyrocket.

One day one of these kooky Obama schemes is going to work.

jukin3 on April 9, 2014 at 2:56 PM

premiums paid by twentysomething latecomers who don’t need much medicare care will simply be applied to paying for the sick, easing costs next year

Oh Allah, don’t you know ?
ObamaCAIR is freeeeeeeee
:O
Words like ” paid” and ” paying” do not apply !
Look under your chairs people,
you get a healthcare….and you get a healthcare

burrata on April 9, 2014 at 2:57 PM

And Obama is far sicker than the average President. In fact, he is by far the sickest one ever in America.

VorDaj on April 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Then again, maybe there’s another way to keep costs down. In lieu of an exit question, via Jim Geraghty, I’ll leave you with this:

As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.

This is the part of Obamacare that the Democrats and media(I know, I’m being redundant) are desperate to ignore. Obama could announce via executive order tomorrow that every American now has free health insurance. That won’t mean diddly-poo when they try to get actual health care from a doctor or hospital if that insurance isn’t accepted. This is the rude awakening everyone’s in for as this disastrous rollout continues.

Doughboy on April 9, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Who possibly could have seen this coming. What an unexpected surprise! You mean the young healthy people aren’t running to the centers to sign up for care and pay outrageous premiums with huge deductibles. I’m shocked.

rjoco1 on April 9, 2014 at 3:09 PM

I wonder how many other O-Care “beneficiaries” are going to be willing to call 96 different doctors’ offices before finding one who’ll accept him. I also wonder how desperately ill one would have to be to be willing to call 96 different doctors’ offices.

AZCoyote on April 9, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Not many,the rest will just go to the ER’s,like before.

docflash on April 9, 2014 at 3:09 PM

I really doubt the late surge in enrollment was because of younger people. all they care about is legal weed and gay marriage; paying for healthcare is not on their list. yeah, they may have signed up for it, but no way, again NO WAY are these people paying a monthly fee for healthcare when they don’t need to.

the healthy young people that don’t already have insurance through their job can’t afford healthcare because they either have low paying jobs, or are jobless, not to mention many of them have student loans to payoff…

jetch on April 9, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Can we finally have that debate about the healthfulness of sodomy?

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Resign from your job now and report to reeducation camp…

oscarwilde on April 9, 2014 at 3:13 PM

They balance it out by having to pay higher premiums than athletic 20 year olds, though.
 
Wait, what?

rogerb on April 9, 2014 at 3:14 PM

So when you offer someone a “deal” that if they pay the first $5,000 of their coverage, and only 40% after that you’ll cover the rest… only those with huge expected, and predictable bills will apply?

Say it ain’t so.

No really, I doubt it is actually true. You’re starting to give me a tiny shred of hope that people might be slightly better at math than I currently believe.

It is a rare special occasion when my cynicism is reduced and my faith in the intelligence of humanity is increased even slightly.

I should enjoy this, it won’t last long. But after the 77 cents for women statistically illiterate crowd I need something to hope for.

gekkobear on April 9, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Not many,the rest will just go to the ER’s,like before.
 
docflash on April 9, 2014 at 3:09 PM

 
Yup. Obamacare does absolutely nothing to address the free-rider problem that was one of its main selling points excuses for being passed without any (R) votes.

rogerb on April 9, 2014 at 3:16 PM

-More than 6 in every 1,000 prescriptions were for an HIV drug, a rate four times that of employer plans.

-HIV/AIDS drugs Atripla and Truvada ranked in the top 10 for total amounts spent on drugs but did not hit the top 10 in spending among the comparison group.

I guess Magic Johnson’s support for Ocare wasn’t just about supporting a black president. Hey, folks, you get increased premiums and higher deductibles so that we can keep Magic Johnson relatively healthy.

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 3:16 PM

That’s one of many unhappy surprises a lot of new Obamacare “beneficiaries” are going to be getting. As with Medicaid and Medicare, having the nice new benefit card doesn’t guarantee that you’ll ever actually benefit from it. Before that can happen, you’ll have to find a sucker . . . er, doctor, to accept you as a patient. As this guy found out, that can be a time-consuming and frustrating exercise.

AZCoyote on April 9, 2014 at 2:55 PM

There is another unhappy surprise awaiting many – “The Bronze Trap”.

Those will be the folks who did sign up – many with greatly subsidized rates – who didn’t understand that those plans come with a high deductible.

So if they DO find a doc for care – they will still be out-of-pocket thousands of dollars which is money they don’t have.

climbnjump on April 9, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Can we finally have that debate about the healthfulness of sodomy?

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Since we are crunching numbers here, and only numbers,
can someone, even a troll enlighten me about this :
How do HIV and HepC and other STD patients vote ?
Do they vote for Dems or for Repubs ?
and by a margin of what %age ?

burrata on April 9, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Apropos to this topic? (Four seconds)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQZqJ_-WAO8

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Insurance is a scam and always has been.

Not sure what is so newsworthy about this post. The point is… what? That the insurance offered through O-care is probably not fiscally sound?

Since when did that factor into SS, Medicare, Medicaid, or practically anything in the public sector? O-care is about servicing a need, and not fiscal responsibility.

Predictable infatuation with the HIV item as well. One would think that if this program seeks to cover “preexisting conditions” that normally cause one to get denied for coverage… that sicker people would partake. Nothing surprising there, if you have a brain.

antisense on April 9, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Since we are crunching numbers here, and only numbers,
can someone, even a troll enlighten me about this :
How do HIV and HepC and other STD patients vote ?
Do they vote for Dems or for Repubs ?
and by a margin of what %age ?

burrata on April 9, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Careful there. I could have easily retorted:

“I don’t know; I haven’t talked to your wife today.”

Just trying to be helpful here and remove this possibly witty response from being posted down thread.

antisense on April 9, 2014 at 3:25 PM

***

and by a margin of what %age ?

burrata on April 9, 2014 at 3:20 PM

I came of age at the height of the AIDS scare in the 1980s, a time when gays sneered at society and had sex with each other with impunity and then turned around and screamed at Reagan and the GOP for not funding research for the gay plague.

Obamacare has spawned the Death Panel. Well, once appointed, I say limit the drugs to those suffering because they engaged in high-risk behavior. They’ll always have recourse to big money liberals. Society, in general, will be more than willing to help those who didn’t engage in high-risk behavior.

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 3:27 PM

But to be serious, it is hard to say how people with STIs would vote. Those with them and who are young might be more prone to voting D. However, huge swaths of the geriatric population have come down with nasty STIs.

It is a trend. Since the elderly skew R, that might increase the % of people with STIs who vote R.

I can envision the poll question now: “How old are you? Do you have an STI? Do you vote D or R?” Unlikely to ever be done, unfortunately.

antisense on April 9, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Out: Obamacare.

In: Gaycare.

Can we finally have that debate about the healthfulness of sodomy?

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Seems like it would be a simple claims query to determine if sodomy or smoking was the bigger health cost risk. I would love for someone to do some analysis and recommend elevated health plan surcharges for individuals based on their “closet” lifestyle. After all, many plans I’m familiar with do that with smokers…

dominigan on April 9, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Can we finally have that debate about the healthfulness of sodomy?

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Sure we can.

OK, who wants to lose their job first?

Anyone? Bueller?

Occams Stubble on April 9, 2014 at 3:34 PM

I’m curious about the percentage of “young invincibles” who signed up are actually not so invincible. I’ll bet that there’s a significant number of the young enrollees who are also chronically ill. But this is also probably not a “bug” in the system.

As we say in software development, any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature.

NeighborhoodCatLady on April 9, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Since we’ve known about AIDs for more than 30 years, any man who practices gay (or straight) casual sex with multiple partners is a fool. Makes it hard for me to have much sympathy.

bw222 on April 9, 2014 at 3:51 PM

I can envision the poll question now: “How old are you? Do you have an STI? Do you vote D or R?” Unlikely to ever be done, unfortunately.

antisense on April 9, 2014 at 3:28 PM

For this one moment , let us think like someone in the Tides Foundation , or Center for American Progress.
If I am such a person, what would my priority be ?
It would be to harm hardworking patriotic taxpaying Americans
and help profit my people.
My people .

So now that we know how JiziahCAIR is unfolding ,
I think there must have be some data somewhere which the marxists knew about, when they crafted the essentials and exemptions of JiziahCAIR.
Also ,let us apply Coward-Piven and Alinsky rules to JiziahCAIR .
Nice picture huh ?
:(

burrata on April 9, 2014 at 3:54 PM

OK, who wants to lose their job first?

Anyone? Bueller?

Occams Stubble on April 9, 2014 at 3:34 PM

What job? Your buddy obama took car of that long ago.

Lanceman on April 9, 2014 at 4:08 PM

You mean . . . the people most inclined to pay double the previous rates for insurance were people who needed to use the coverage right away?

Ya think?

Anyone who ever doubted for one second this would be the case should be forever banned from positions with government at any level, and should be required to post a warning label on any internet writing so that readers are aware the writer has no common sense or practical knowledge.

Yeah, I’m talking to YOU, Ezra Klein and Matty Yglesias.

Adjoran on April 9, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Seems like it would be a simple claims query to determine if sodomy or smoking was the bigger health cost risk. I would love for someone to do some analysis and recommend elevated health plan surcharges for individuals based on their “closet” lifestyle. After all, many plans I’m familiar with do that with smokers…

dominigan on April 9, 2014 at 3:32 PM

ALL of the piece-of-crap Obamacare does that with smoking, it’s the only point on which premiums can differ, other than the obvious age and location and element.

slickwillie2001 on April 9, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Obamacare has spawned the Death Panel. Well, once appointed, I say limit the drugs to those suffering because they engaged in high-risk behavior. They’ll always have recourse to big money liberals. Society, in general, will be more than willing to help those who didn’t engage in high-risk behavior.

BuckeyeSam on April 9, 2014 at 3:27 PM

What if we apply the same logic which the food Nazi Mooch applies to school lunches ?
She says she wants to starve kids to prevent obesity and save the economy ,
I say let us also save the economy by targeting the costliest clients and regulating their dangerous and risky habits .

burrata on April 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM

As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.

This is it right here. When will the mendicants on the left realize that health insurance does not equal health care? I expect that after a hundred or so rejections, they might start figuring it out.

Theophile on April 9, 2014 at 4:52 PM

ALL of the piece-of-crap Obamacare does that with smoking, it’s the only point on which premiums can differ, other than the obvious age and location and element.

slickwillie2001 on April 9, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Which is all the more twisted as smokers actually cost less for health care than the general population since smokers tend to pop off pretty quickly and don’t spend the last years of their lives languishing in ICUs, eating tons of expensive pills and the like.

It’s just fashionable to claim that smokers cost so much more in health care … but it ain’t true.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 9, 2014 at 5:41 PM

As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.

The end of the story is the real kicker:

Ninety-six doctors measured the value of my life by how much the government is willing to pay for my preventive visit. I remain grateful for the Affordable Care Act and understand that we, the people, must continue to fight to make sure that the access it promises to provide can become tangible for all. Though the government, under President Obama, has made tremendous strides in equalizing the divide between the healthcare ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ we still have so far to go.

Oooohh…it’s the doctors that are to blame!!

The author is getting skewered in the comments.

http://www.ebony.com/wellness-empowerment/when-doctors-slam-the-doors-on-the-newly-insured-304#ixzz2yOgIrniX

lynncgb on April 9, 2014 at 6:53 PM

It’s dumb to believe anything Obama says about the Obamacare numbers. Remember that lying is standard operating procedure with this administration.

Chessplayer on April 9, 2014 at 8:10 PM