Thursday, July 21, 2016

Obamacare has led to lower health insurance premiums and better coverage, study finds

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 8:20 PM

Here's a headline that you won't hear at tonight's Republican convention: A new study from the Brookings Institution finds that even as health insurance premiums rise this year, they are significantly lower than they would have been without Obamacare. 

Here's the key finding, published today in Health Affairs: "average premiums in the individual market actually dropped significantly upon implementation of the ACA, according to our new analysis, even while consumers got better coverage. In other words, people are getting more for less under the ACA."

The study's results surprised the authors given that the coverage expansion had some features that put upward pressure on price; however, the law was surprisingly successful in keeping premium prices down in offsetting ways.

Individual market premiums fell 10 to 21 percent between 2013 and 2013 thanks to Obamacare, the study found; next year's premiums would likely be 30 to 50 percent higher without Obamacare.  

click to enlarge adler_exhibit3-768x585.png

The big takeway: 

The ACA marketplaces, though imperfect, represent a clear improvement over the unstructured, non-transparent individual health insurance market that existed beforehand. They have been quite successful in lowering premiums for consumers while simultaneously providing better insurance. While guaranteed issue, required essential benefits, and restrictions on medical underwriting undoubtedly pushed up premiums, aspects of the ACA that created a far more competitive individual insurance market appear to have more than offset those effects.

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