HHS study: Millions of people will spend less than $100/month on ObamaCare -- you can thank us later

In yet another deliberately misleading report that reeks of desperation for positive news about the law’s implementation, the Department of Health and Human Services has some seemingly stellar news about the super low prices of insurance premiums that will be available for millions of people when ObamaCare begins. Via The Hill:

Millions of people entering ObamaCare’s new insurance marketplaces will pay less than $100 per month for healthcare coverage, according to a new federal report.

The study by the Health and Human Services Department found that about 6.4 million people would be eligible for $100-or-less coverage because of ObamaCare’s tax credits for middle-income families.

The figures apply mainly to customers purchasing “silver” plans on the new marketplaces, which will launch Oct. 1. Researchers used data from the Census Bureau to estimate how many families would qualify for tax credits.

Altogether, about half of the uninsured people in the United States will be eligible for health insurance costing $100 or less because the healthcare law expands other federal programs, the report stated.

This group includes 12.4 million people who will be newly eligible for Medicaid in states that choose to expand it

“Other federal programs,” basically meaning these low-income people must either pay the individual-mandate penalty, receive subsidies courtesy of the taxpayer, or sign up for Medicaid? As in, Medicaid, the broken and costly system that struggles to improve health outcomes for low-income people, that doctors increasingly refuse to accept as payment, and that usually leads to low-quality care with inordinately long wait times? That Medicaid?

Sam Cappellanti at American Action Forum has more on HHS’s “faulty” numbers, showing how these rosy-sounding estimates aren’t nearly as awesome as the administration is making them out to be:

The report also uses premium rates that are too generalized.  Dismissive of using the actual prices for silver plans, the authors chose instead to calculate rates using a ratio of the federal poverty level (FPL) to the ACA-imposed premium cap percentage. To add in individuals for whom a silver plan would exceed $100 per month, they took an average of the currently available rates, providing results that are merely hypothetical, as they assume a nonspecific nationwide premium rate.  The authors are, admittedly so, not concerned with the rates for particular states or for the federal exchange.  As such, the data they use is little more than a set of averages, unlikely to be relevant as the insurance markets will be so varied. …

Moreover, some may find the headline and the report’s results misleading.  The report discusses insurability on an individual basis – that is, it looks at the uninsured population regardless of family affiliation.  The “$100 or less” figure applies to both single purchasers and to each person within a family.  The language, however, can be unclear at times and the $100 per family member figure goes largely unnoticed as it is buried in the lengthy methodology section.  This, paired with a vague title, may give some the impression that a family unit could receive coverage for $100, a rate only available to families living at the poverty line.  Considering all its shortcomings, this report provides more skewed data than it does meaningful information.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on April 01, 2023