National Center for Public Policy Research press release


For Release: September 15, 2014
Contact:
Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or [email protected] or David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or (703) 568-4727 (text enabled) or [email protected]

 

New Study Confirms Health Plans on Individual Market in 2013 Were Higher Quality than Plans on Exchanges

Study Shows Single 27-Year-Olds and 57-Year-Old Couples had Access to Plans with Better Cost-Sharing and Larger Provider Networks Prior to ObamaCare Exchanges

Claims by President Obama, Ed Schultz and Others that Plans in the Individual Market Were 'Substandard' or 'Crappy' Do Not Hold Up

Today is Two Months to the Day to Start of ObamaCare's Next Open Enrollment Period

 

Washington, D.C. - The ObamaCare exchanges have reduced the quality of insurance polices when compared to what existed in 2013 on the individual market, says a just-released study from the National Center for Public Policy Research entitled, "Despite ObamaCare Supporters' Claims, Health Insurance Plans Prior to ObamaCare Exchanges Were Neither 'Crappy' Nor 'Substandard.'"

"When millions of people were losing their health insurance plans in late 2013, ObamaCare supporters claimed those plans were of poor quality, calling them substandard and even 'crappy'," said study author Dr. David Hogberg, health care policy analyst at the National Center. "But they never provided any evidence to support those claims. Quite to the contrary, this study shows that in important ways, the plans on the individual market in 2013 were of better quality than those on the ObamaCare exchanges."

Today is two months to the day before the ObamaCare open enrollment period re-opens on November 15.

The study compared the cost-sharing -- i.e., the deductibles and the out-of-pocket maximums -- of plans on the individual market in 2013 and on the ObamaCare exchanges in ten major metropolitan areas for a 27-year-old single person and a 57-year-old couple. It also examined the provider networks, comparing the number of health maintenance organization (HMO) plans to preferred provider organizations (PPO) plans in the individual markets and ObamaCare exchanges.

It found:

  • There was an average of 33 plans in each area for a 27-year-old on the individual market that had lower premiums and lower or equal deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums than the cheapest plans on the ObamaCare exchanges. Milwaukee, Wisconsin had the most such plans with an average of 68.

  • For a 57-year-old couple there was an average of 10 policies in each area that had lower premiums and lower or equal cost-sharing in the 2013 individual market than the cheapest plans on the ObamaCare exchanges. Louisville, Kentucky had the most with an average of 26.

  • The ObamaCare exchanges had many more of the restrictive HMO networks in their plans relative to the individual market, an average of 16 more HMO plans for both 27-year-olds and 57-year-olds.

  • The less restrictive PPOs were more common in the individual markets, with an average of 32 more plans with PPOs for 27-year-olds and 25 more for 57-year-olds.

"Overall, the ObamaCare exchanges have resulted in a decline in health-plan quality," said Dr. Hogberg. "Almost no one would consider it an improvement in quality to pay a higher premium and get less out-of-pocket coverage as was the case with policies on the exchange, and few would consider more restrictive networks to be better quality."

"We can expect quality to continue to decline as long as ObamaCare is in place," he said.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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