When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Americans would have to wait until Congress passed Obamacare to find out what was in it, she wasn’t kidding. Since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act nearly six months ago, Americans have been faced daily reality checks from the health care overhaul, and none of them have been good.
In fact, those Americans who own health insurance policies from smaller insurers are already feeling the pinch from Obamacare. Smaller health insurers may face additional obstacles to stay in business in light of the new law’s mandates, with some predicting Obamacare will drive them out of the insurance market altogether. Not only does this mean that Americans who are currently happy with their insurance coverage will see changes they don’t like, but it signals even more choice restriction among health plans.
One of the contributing factors for this fallout is the new requirement that insurers meet federally determined medical loss ratios. The ratios require insurers to spend a certain percentage of income from premiums on medical expenditures, rather than administrative costs, taxes or profits.
In Texas, National Health Insurance Co. has decided to discontinue two of its health plans, citing Obamacare as the reason. The Dallas Morning News chronicles the story of two Texans, Al and Jill Alcantara, both 63, who will lose their current policy because the insurance company says “it could no longer offer individual accident and health insurance policies.” While experts say not enough smaller insurers have left the market yet to point to a trend, the Morning News article notes that several health economists expect smaller insurers to be unable to make it under the new law.
Other Americans will likely face the same ordeal as the Alcantaras. The real irony is that the couple has “been pleased with their high-deductible policy, which is tailored to cover Al’s Type 2 diabetes and gives them access to all the doctors they want”,. Obamacare will be responsible for the couple’s loss of private coverage, causing them to instead end up in taxpayer-subsidized, high-risk pools intended for those with pre-existing conditions who couldn’t get coverage on their own.
This post was co-authored by Derek Pyburn.