Policy, Payers

Obamacare 2016 enrollment brings consumer, employer pain

The arrival of November marks the opening of the third-annual open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.

The arrival of November of course marks the opening of the third-annual open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.

There’s plenty of partisan noise around, though surprisingly little on Obamacare from Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and the Twitter storm of mockery he unleashed by announcing a new slogan, “Jeb Can Fix It.” This was the only tweet we could find on the subject:

What we know is that the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services is forecasting a slight increase in registrations this year over the 11.4 million who bought plans through healthcare.gov or state exchanges in 2014. We also know that premiums are going up in most states, in some cases by more than 30 percent for “Silver” plans.

The new year also will bring another acceleration of the shift away from employer-sponsored health benefits, placing a greater financial burden on consumers. (That wouldn’t be so painful if there were true price transparency in the cost of healthcare services, but that’s another story.)

According to Government Health IT, the maximum out-of-pocket cost is going up by 3.8 percent, to $6,850 for individuals and $13,700 for couples/families. That compares to $6,600 and $13,200 this year.

Consumers also will have to contend with the demise of more than a third of the 23 consumer operated and oriented (CO-OP) plans in 22 states, reducing choice for hundreds of thousands of people.

On the employer side, 60 percent of those surveyed by the Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America indicated that they needed help managing health insurance benefits. About a third said that they will outsource more benefits administration because of the ACA.

View this infographic for more data.

Images: Flickr user Brett Tatman, The Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America