Obamacare's Next Flop: Most to Find Fewer Choices, Higher Prices

Image: Obamacare's Next Flop: Most to Find Fewer Choices, Higher Prices

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 06:31 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The hobbled HealthCare.gov website has Obama administration officials worrying about the next onslaught of bad publicity: high insurance plan prices and limited choices.

"War Room Notes," dated Oct. 28 and obtained by CNN, speculated "a general concern" of project managers that once people begin to select plans on a better-running Obamacare site, "the media attention will follow individuals to plan selection and their ultimate choices; and, in some cases, there will be fewer options than would be desired to promote consumer choice and an ideal shopping experience.

"Additionally, in some cases there will be relatively high cost plans," the War Room notes say.

CNN reported the discussion appeared to reference an Oct. 24 New York Times story on President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law failing to lower prices for people in rural areas.

The Times reported rural areas have fewer insurance companies offering plans in the new online insurance exchanges — and finding that in more than 500 counties, only one insurer was participating.

Other War Room notes described "problem plans," and a problem with the site that prevents certification — maybe due to a misspelling on the website, CNN noted.

The high cost of coverage under the new law is already being assessed.

In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent, a Manhattan Institute analysis released Monday showed, according to Forbes.

Before the law's online healthcare markets launched Oct. 1, the administration estimated nearly 500,000 people would enroll for subsidized private insurance within the first month. Despite high consumer interest, a computer system beset by gremlins has kept most from doing so.

More recently, at least 3.5 million Americans have gotten cancellation notices from their private carriers because their coverage does not meet the standards set by the new Affordable Care Act.

Their exact number is unclear; an Associated Press survey noted data from half the states still is unavailable.

The administration refuses to release official Obamacare insurance plan enrollment numbers until mid-November, when a crash effort of computer fixes may be showing results.

Still, numbers are expected to be disappointingly low.

Americans still are divided over the new healthcare law, with negative views outweighing positives. But they also lean against repealing it.

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