With President Trump and the GOP working to end health care coverage available under the Affordable Care Act, the state health care marketplaces have been in turmoil. Given the uncertainty about the ACA’s future, insurers are pulling out of many counties or raising their cost-sharing requirements significantly. And, we are seeing, yet again, that commercial health insurance is unreliable and costly. This market instability coupled with high costs make a compelling case for improved Medicare for all, a reliable and cost-effective federal public health insurance option.
The New York Times reports that 35,000 Americans in 45 counties may have no health insurance options in their state health care marketplaces in 2018. Another three million people in 1,388 counties are likely to have the choice of one high-priced plan with restricted or no access to the doctors and hospitals they know and trust. People in rural areas are most affected. If everyone had the option of traditional Medicare, they would be guaranteed easy access to a wide range of doctors and hospitals anywhere in the country and be virtually assured continuity of care.
In February, Humana announced that it would no longer be offering insurance in the health care marketplaces. And, Anthem just announced that it plans to stop offering coverage in Ohio and, as of yet, has made no commitment to offer marketplace coverage in any county in the U.S. And, the situation could get far worse. The Seattle Times just reported that the 300,000 people buying coverage in the Washington State health care marketplace could see a 22 percent increase in premiums in 2018.
To guarantee people affordable reliable coverage, the California legislature is well on its way to passing legislation that would effectively do away with commercial insurance and give everyone in the state improved Medicare for all. If we consider health care as a right, we should not be relying on commercial insurers to deliver coverage. They are less cost-effective than Medicare and unpredictable.
Here’s more from Just Care:
- Four things to think about when choosing between traditional Medicare and a Medicare Advantage plan
- Medicare remains more efficient than commercial insurance
- Medicare and commercial insurance: The fundamental difference
- The price you pay for a narrow network of doctors and hospitals
- Medicaid: Why it matters to all of us