5

This article in Forbes says it did. Did they pick and choose their data, or is that an accurate assessment?

Ample Evidence Shows Average Premiums and Spending Exploded After ACA Implementation in 2014

While it is important to look at data for several years after 2013 to assess the impact of the ACA, comparing individual market premiums in 2013 with those in 2014—the year its key changes took effect—provides an approximation of the initial change. The Manhattan Institute compared the average of the five least expensive pre-ACA plans in 2013 with the least expensive plans available on exchanges in 2014. Manhattan’s researchers adjusted the pre-ACA plan premiums upward to account for the population facing surcharges or denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Manhattan estimated that the average state individual market premium increased 41% between 2013 and 2014. A county-level analysis suggested that premiums increased by 49%.

  • 13
    "We compiled an average of the five least-expensive plans in a particular county pre-Obamacare, adjusted to take into account those with pre-existing conditions and other health problems. We then did the same calculation with the five least-expensive plans in each county under the Obamacare exchanges." I believe they're not comparing similar policies. The cheapest policies on the new exchanges probably cover more than the cheapest policies prior, simply because they have a minimum that needs to be covered. – Is Begot Jun 18 '14 at 14:16
  • 8
    This is a very poorly formulated article from the beginning does the Affordable Care Act live up to its name? Does it make health insurance less expensive? -- Already, in the introductory paragraph, it's comparing apples and oranges. "Affordable (health) care" and "Affordable insurance" are not the same thing. Insurance premiums could go up, while the overall cost of health care could go down. In fact, that's essentially the reason insurance exists at all--to pay higher premiums, but lower overall costs. – Flimzy Jun 18 '14 at 17:24
  • 6
    @LorenPechtel is correct. Incidentally, this is also how the right manages to howl about how "Obama lied when he said you could keep your policy if you liked it" -- The only time you can't keep your policy is when it doesn't cover the absolute minimum mandated by the ACA... Which means that it's almost certainly overpriced garbage that you should be happy to be rid of. – Shadur Jun 19 '14 at 14:42
  • 6
    @doresoom that argument would carry a lot more weight if the health insurance industry in the US hadn't been a bunch of kleptocrats for the past several decades whose MO is "milk money out of our customers, then when they fall ill exploit every possible loophole to avoid having to pay them a cent". Do some googling -- every time the right wing tries to tout another "Obamacare horror story" a quick fact check reveals that they ignored every detail they didn't actually deliberately misinterpret. – Shadur Jun 19 '14 at 14:53
  • 4
    @Shadur, I had an outstanding individual policy that was not overpriced garbage. It was cheaper than what most people paid, with lower premiums, lower max out-of-pocket, and excellent coverage. It was cancelled though because it did not meet the minimum mandates. The reason it didn't meet the minimum is because it didn't have maternity coverage. (I am male.) – TTT Jun 21 '14 at 22:43
5

According to Forbes own description of the methodology used, the answer is NO to the question posed.

To calculate these figures, we used the same methodology we’ve used in the past. We compiled an average of the five least-expensive plans in a particular county pre-Obamacare, adjusted to take into account those with pre-existing conditions and other health problems. We then did the same calculation with the five least-expensive plans in each county under the Obamacare exchanges. We then used these county-based numbers to come up with population-weighted averages pre- and post-Obamacare.

The question, which was based on Forbes' own claim, refers to "an average of 49% nationwide". Since no sample was taken of changes in any but the 5 lowest cost plans, it is mathematically impossible to extrapolate a "nationwide average" of anything but the cheapest plans. What portion of insurees this represents is unknown. We also don't know how many NEW insurees the post-ACA group includes, which could include those previously forced to buy more expensive policies due to preexisting conditions.

Even within the cheap-policy subgroup the comparison is too incomplete to be meaningful. For example, the study does not document the corresponding differences in the 5 plans pre- and post-ACA. This gives the impression consumers were getting less value for their money, but that may not be true when all factors are considered. For example, there are also changes in risk sharing between young and old, male and female, etc. So if you are a young man and see an increase in your insurance costs, it is useful to understand that part of that is to subsidize your mother's, wife's and daughters' insurance (women), as well as your own rates in the future (elderly). Unless you plan to stay single and die young, this should be part of your value calculations.

  • 1
    Minimum coverage requirements introduced in the ACA also would substantially affect the value of the cheapest insurance plans, since it would have eliminated altogether some of the cheapest, least-value plans from the marketplace. Really comparing apples and oranges there. – KRyan Aug 8 '17 at 14:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .