The Story Behind the Headlines

Free birth control — advocated in the Institute of Medicine report on women’s health coverage — isn’t really free. It will raise premium costs. As Chris Jacobs notes:

When the Congressional Budget Office recognized it analyzed premium increases under Obamacare in November 2009 [the] CBO noted that the richer benefit packages proposed under Obamacare would raise individual insurance premiums by up to 30 percent — two-thirds of this increase will be due to lowering copayments and deductibles.

According to the CBO, lower deductibles and copayments alone will add 10% to health insurance premiums under ObamaCare:

Because of the greater actuarial value and broader scope of benefits that would be covered by new nongroup policies sold under the legislation, the average premium per person for those policies would be an estimated 27 percent to 30 percent higher than the average premium for nongroup policies under current law (with other factors held constant).  The increase in actuarial value would push the average premium per person about 18 percent to 21 percent above its level under current law, before the increase in enrollees’ use of medical care resulting from lower cost sharing is considered; that induced increase, along with the greater scope of benefits, would account for the remainder of the overall difference.

Comments (5)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    This pushes health care in the wrong direction. Mandating an essential benefit package invites special interests to lobby to ensure their respective services are included in the benefit package.

    A better way to go would have been to mandate high-deductible plans that include either an HSA or a personal health account. Some of the premium dollars could accrue to the account.

  2. Brian Williams. says:

    Congress relies on future taxpayers to fund Obamacare, so free birth control doesn’t even make sense. Shouldn’t they encourage women to have more babies (taxpayers) to help pay for Obamacare?

  3. Greg says:

    Good point.

  4. Andrew_M_Garland says:

    Fred tries a new restaurant. The waiter seats him at a group table for 10; this is an adventure. He isn’t very hungry; a ceaser salad for $5 will do. The waiter asks “Will that really be all, Sir?” “Yes, just the salad.”

    The other nine people at the table all order lobster for $25! The person next to him explains that this is a Lunch Club which encourages community and good feeling. The costs for everyone are added together, and the bill is divided equally among the people at the table.

    Fred quickly calls back the waiter and orders lobster.

  5. Devon Herrick says:

    It costs $116 billion annually to treat diabetes? That is quite a lot of money for a disease that is largely preventable through diet and exercise.