The Obama administration continues to peddle the erroneous claim that the Affordable Care Act is making health insurance more affordable for young adults, writes Karl Rove in a Wall Street Journal column
This "farcical" assertion is belied by rising premiums young people are being asked to shoulder even as the disincentives for them to sign up are becoming increasingly obvious, writes Rove, a top Republican strategist and former deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush.
Younger people stand to pay more than before Obamacare became law partly because of its "Adjusted Community Rating" provision. This clause bars anyone from being billed a premium more than three times anyone else's. In pre-Obamacare days, most states allowed "age rating bands" of 5:1 or more, writes Rove.
"By narrowing the age rating band to 3:1, Obamacare incentivizes insurers to raise premiums for younger, healthier people to subsidize premiums paid by older, less-healthy people."
Not even Obamacare supporters deny that the premiums of older adults won't cover their probable medical expenses, and that young adults will be saddled with premiums that more than cover their own costs.
Actuaries have estimated that the Affordable Care Act will require healthy persons age 21 to 29 to incur costs two to four times more for premiums than if they had purchased comparable insurance before Obamacare, writes Rove.
While Americans between 60-64 with single coverage who are ineligible for subsidies can expect a 1 percent increase in premiums compared to the pre-Obamacare era, 21 to 29 year-old singles will be paying something like 42 percent more.
For those in the 30 to 39 category premiums would be 31 percent higher than they'd have been without Obamacare.
Single young people with incomes in the $25,000 range — after subsidies — will still be paying higher premiums than they would have absent Obamacare.
There are analysts who argue that these figures are too rosy and that the real impact on younger people will be much costlier.
If Americans in the 18-34 age grouping — who reportedly comprise 40 percent of potential enrollees — decide to stay away from Obamacare, insurers in 2014 would find themselves paying out more than what they collect in premiums. And if that happens, premiums will necessarily have to be hiked next year.
All the while, writes Rove, "The administration still refuses to admit how many people are actually enrolled — meaning that they picked a plan, paid and received their insurance card — in the federal or state-run insurance exchanges.
"And it won't say what share of those who have enrolled are young people," Rove said.
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