Obamacare Slightly Increased Short-Term Uninsured

NHISThe best measurement of people who lack health insurance, the National Health Interview Survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has released early estimates of health insurance for all fifty states and the District of Columbia in 2015. There are two things to note.

First: About 70 percent of residents, age 18 to through 64, had “health insurance” in 2015, which is the same rate as persisted until 2006. Obamacare has not achieved a breakthrough in coverage. It has just restored us to where we were less than a decade ago.

What has also happened is a significant change from private coverage to government welfare (primarily Medicaid). The shift has been about five percentage points since 2006, and ten percentage points since 1997. (That is, there was no net change in coverage before the Great Recession, but there was crowding out of private coverage in favor of welfare.)

Categorizing people on welfare programs like Medicaid as having insurance is inaccurate, for the same reason categorizing people receiving cash welfare with employed people into one category of people “earning incomes” would be inaccurate.

Second: The National Health Interview Survey is the best survey because it asks people three questions: Whether they were uninsured at the time of the interview, whether they were uninsured for any time within a year, and whether they were uninsured for more than a year. Unfortunately, it does not differentiate between private coverage and welfare.

Between 2013 and 2015, the number of people who were uninsured for one year or more declined by 12.7 million, from 30.5 million to 17.8 million. However, the number uninsured for less than a year increased slightly from 16.9 million to 17.7 million.

I believe this reflects churning between private coverage, Medicaid, and Obamacare exchanges in the increasingly fragmented post-Obamacare landscape. People fall through the cracks, overwhelmed and confused by an unnecessarily complicated “market.”

Comments (20)

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  1. Lee Benham says:

    so the ACA is not working?

    • Ron Greiner says:

      No, Obamacare is not working. But the Obama Administration is going to fix this disaster by outlawing Short-Term-Medical (STM) insurance in America. I signed up a 57-year-old couple with a 14-year-old son yesterday on a STM plan. Their COBRA from the job, that he was fired from, was $2,000 a month from Blue Cross. I sold this family a STM PPO plan for just $470 a month.

      To be honest I felt like I was stealing $1,500 a month away from the Blue Cross CEO who earns millions per year. This poor family should be paying $1,500 a month more just to be fair and they will probably just waste this money on food or this son’s college education. I knew these folks were cheaters, because they were healthy, and I helped them by cherry-picking them and it was hard for me to go to sleep last night.

      These people who get fired should not have a low-cost option. Not in America which used to be the land of the free.

      • Please educate us: When get gets another job he will have a waiting period for coverage because he did not COBRA, right? So there is a price to pay down the road.

        I know you do not like employer-based coverage but wonder if this man understood that cost.

        How is the commission on selling STM versus Obamacare policies?

        • Ron Greiner says:

          John, there is no cost because employer-based insurance doesn’t have pre-existing. It is hard to tell what you are talking about.

          YOU ask, “How is the commission on selling STM versus Obamacare policies?”

          Obamacare commission is ZERO and STM commissions are something, which is better.

          Shutting down all individual health insurance in America is a pretty big deal. Deadly too. I have not seen one news story yet defending this abusive Federal action.

          Bob is right that there will be a big jump in uninsured Americans.

          • John R. Graham says:

            If a client buys one of your STM policies he will not have a certificate of continuous coverage coverage to bring to his employer when he gets a job, right? So he will have a waiting period.

            • Lee benham says:

              That is incorrect John.

              • Lee Benham says:

                The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) required certificates of creditable coverage to be issued to individuals switching from one health insurance plan to another to bypass pre-existing condition exclusions. After December 31, 2014, most health insurance plans will no longer contain pre-existing condition exclusions as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

                Although the regulators recognize that certain individual policies may still contain pre-existing condition exclusions after December 31, 2014, the response to a public comment indicates that certificates of creditable coverage will no longer be relevant, even in this circumstance

                • But there are still many millions of people who will have a lapse of coverage that get employed with benefits. Are you saying they are few enough that insurers do not care? I am surprised they let the requirement slide away.

                  • Lee Benham says:

                    short term plans did qualify as Hippa eligible plans in the states I sold in. ACA qualified is a different story. clients can still get a Hippa letter if they ask for one.

              • Thank you. I see the requirement was abolished in HIPAA rules promulgated 5/16/14 http://tinyurl.com/jkfhe4q.

  2. Lee benham says:

    Guess Obama has to finish killing the middle class once and for all. Ending the STM plan sales will destroy people’s lives and make people just go without insurance.

  3. Lee benham says:

    So people that are exempt from ACA penalties because of affordability that buy STM plans because it’s all they can afford will now be forced to buy hospital plans and CI policies.
    Our goverment is just brilliant . With IM policies going up to about $1500 a month none of these people that are buying STM will buy an ACA compliant plan. They will go with out and bank the premiums!!

  4. bob hertz says:

    Ron, I agree with your anger. The government’s not so secret goal is to dragoon more healthy people into the exchanges, no matter how much it hurts them.

    Also there will be a big jump in uninsured persons.

    However, your particular example was incomplete.

    If their COBRA option cost $2,000 a month, I am sure that Blue Cross was not making $1500 a month as you imply.

    COBRA was not the only other choice. This family could have gonIe to the ACA exchange if there was a job loss.
    If their income was under $72,000
    and they were in a modestly-priced state like Texas, they could have gotten an ACA policy for about $1300 a month less a subsidy.

    Short term insurance was still better for them. But not $1500 better.

  5. Lee benham says:

    Didn’t Devon just say BCBS of Texas has asked for a 60% rate increase ? $$1300 x 1.6 is a lot

    • Ron Greiner says:

      This client said his 2016 income will be $120,000 so there is no tax subsidy like Bob said.

      PLUS, this client has a PPO and the only plans available on the TEXAS Obamacare Exchange are HMOs that pay NOTHING for an out of network medical provider.

      Outlawing STM is not in Obamacare so this is an order from the dictator in Washington DC. I thought Congress made the laws in America.

      “The United States is a Nation of laws, poorly written and randomly enforced.” – Frank Zappa

  6. Lee benham says:

    God forbid the gov fixes the family glitch . Let’s just make it much worse by eliminating a viable alternative for millions.

  7. Ron Greiner says:

    Lee, Obamacare has killed 90% of America’s health insurance agents. President Obama must think we have a big target on our backs. Now the consumer’s options are very small with outlawing STM in America. The biggest selling product in Europe is Life Insurance with “Living Benefits,” and maybe that is rapidly becoming the best option for Americans.

    The 50-year-old woman above can get Life Insurance that will pay 90% of the death benefit for heart attack, stroke or cancer, a critical illness. So if $1 million of Life Insurance cost her $300 a month she would have $900,000 cash to go to MD Anderson if she did get bone cancer. With $900,000 cash MD Anderson would be waiting at the front door with a wheelchair and flowers. MD Anderson Cancer Center in TEXAS has started cable TV advertising here in Tampa Bay probably because Obamacare Individual policies in TEXAS pay NOTHING to them because they are a non-network provider.

    Her 57-year-old husband would cost more, maybe $400 a month?, but then this couple would have the cash to pay their way if they had certain terrible medical problems, you know the serious stuff. Besides, she could use $1 million dollars if he died before they got him to the hospital. The agent would make 10 times the monthly premium, or $7,000, so I suggest he enroll 3 of these couples this week. Paying $2,000 a month with COBRA would give her NOTHING if he died before getting to the hospital.

    Obama’s goal of killing all of the insurance agent won’t work. At least 1% will make it with insurance products that will protect America’s consumers. Maybe Obama will outlaw Living Benefits in Life Insurance!

  8. Lee Benham says:

    The great part about living in America when one door closes another one opens. Since family health insurance converge is now costing nearly $20,000 per year and the 8.13% affordability exemption rises right along with the premiums. Soon families earning less than $300,000 a year will be exempt from the ACA penalties. 80% of the population has claims of less then $5,000 per year. So we are right back to what do we do with the 20% sick ones? Obama says screw em!Lets completely destroy the individual market so health people will look to alternatives.

    I think you might be on to something. I just ran rates for a 57 year old male and female for $1,000,000 worth of converge that includes living benefits. These benefits can be accessed for Chronic Illness(not being able to perform 2 of 6 ADL’s) Critical Illness or terminal illness.

    The rate for the Male was $228 a month and the female was on $168. So this couple would run $396 a month.

    This couple budgets $1300 a month for health Insurance uses $400 to buy the life with living benefits then banks the $900 to self insure for the small things that can happen in life.
    After all a $50,000 5 year loan is less then $900 per month. you only need coverage for the really big one
    and getting a $1,000,000 check when you are first diagnosed with cancer will allow you to go to the front of the line at MD Anderson and allow you to
    Afforded the Obamacare premiums if you make it to the next open enrolment.

    Talk about accelerating the death spiral!

    You are correct this will pay the agent a nice commission. Personally if I sold the policy I would make about $5,200 selling a simple 10 year term policy and best of all the commission would be advanced.

    The gov will never understand that insurance is a
    transference of risk and if the cost of the insurance is greater than the risk you are better off to self insure.
    The business world will always adapt and find solutions.

    I cant wait to here Berry Spin This one!

  9. Bob Hertz says:

    What life insurer was this?

    American National?

    Assurity Life?


  10. Ron Greiner says:

    June 2016 – NCPA blog – in the last week we have exposed that UHC, the largest Individual Medical (IM) insurance company in America, is terminating the IM division in all states but UT. Now, the Medical Mafia in DC is ordering, by Executive Order, the termination of all STM insurance in the country.

    How far can politicians push the American people before they start pushing back?

    UHC’s termination of IM has only been reported at the NCPA blog. We need better media in America.