Insured Americans Blame Obamacare for Higher Premiums
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The Fiscal Times
December 16, 2013

The compromised rollout of Obamacare continues while the Obama administration continues to deal with a growing public relations nightmare.  

Many insured Americans – those people who were supposed to be unaffected by the new law, according to the White House – are now saying their health insurance policies will be more expensive next year because of Obamacare.

Related: The Many Disrupted Lives Under Obamacare

A new Associated Press-GfK poll found that nearly half of Americans with employer-based insurance say their plans will be changing for the worst – and 77 percent say its Obamacare’s fault.

The poll shows that about 69 percent of respondents say their premiums will be going up, while 59 percent say their annual deductibles or copayments will increase. Some 14 percent said coverage for their spouses is being restricted or eliminated, while 11 percent said their plan had been cancelled altogether.

To be sure, employers have long been shifting the rising cost of health insurance onto employees, and insurance companies have routinely turned away people with pre-existing conditions or charged them more for their coverage. But with Obamacare’s rocky rollout garnering so much attention, many of those changes are being blamed on the president’s health care law.

More than 4 million Americans have received cancellation notices from their insurers, as their policies do not meet minimum standards required under the new law. Though the president announced a last-minute rule change that lets states and insurers decide whether to allow these policies to continue for one year, many say it is too late and will not honor the change. That means these people are left scrambling to find new plans before Dec. 23 in order to have coverage on Jan 1.

Related: Obamacare Aftermath: Fewer Doctors, Higher Costs

The cancelled policies on top of major problems with the website, Healthcare.gov, have made for a disastrous rollout and massive embarrassment for the Obama administration.

The public has clearly noticed: About three in four people say they disapprove of the administration’s handling of Obamacare so far, according to the AP poll.

The law even has an unfavorable rating among one of the key groups it needs to succeed – young Americans. A new USA Today/Pew poll shows that 54 percent of them disapprove of Obamacare.

This is bad news for the Obama administration, which has estimated it needs at least 2.4 million young, healthy Americans (or 40 percent of the total enrollment) to sign up for health insurance through the exchanges in order to offset costs for other older and sicker Americans.

The administration has not revealed how many millennials have so far enrolled, but about 365,000 people have signed up through the exchanges since October. Although that’s well below the 500,000 the administration had expected for the first month alone, officials say they’re still on target to meet their goal of signing up 7 million people by the end of open enrollment on March 31.

The administration, along with several major insurance companies, has begun an aggressive advertising and outreach campaign to get people signed up for coverage in order to meet that goal.

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Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.