As the full implementation of Obamacare nears, young adults and unions are growing more skeptical of the law.
No surprise here. There are many studies that project insurance premium “rate shock” in the individual market when Obamacare begins next year, especially effecting young adults. This week, the American Action Forum (AAF) released a poll confirming what many already know: young adults are price-sensitive consumers. The higher their insurance premiums increase, the more likely they are to forgo purchasing insurance and pay the individual mandate, especially given that under Obamacare they can purchase equally priced coverage later if they do become sick. The AAF poll found:
Among currently insured respondents, if out-of-pocket premium costs increase even 10 percent, 17 percent of respondents would discontinue coverage and pay the penalty indefinitely, or until an illness prompted them to sign up for coverage. If premiums increase by 30 percent, only 55 percent would continue purchasing coverage, and 45 percent would go without.
Seeing as it is likely that premiums for young adults will increase over 30 percent on average, this poses a major problem for Obamacare. As AAF concludes, “[A]ny significant dropping of coverage will lead to major adverse selection within the insurance risk pools. Without the healthy people within the pools to subsidize those with high medical costs, the system collapses.”
Much like young adults, unions too are proving to be rational actors. Another union leader has publicly revoked support for Obamacare. The reason is the same as the other union leaders’: Its members, like 7 million other Americans, will likely not be able to keep their current health plan.
Obamacare blocks union plans for low-income workers from receiving subsidies. The president of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Joseph Hansen writes:
This creates unstoppable incentives for employers to reduce weekly hours for workers currently on our plans and push them onto the exchanges where many will pay higher costs for poorer insurance with a more limited network of providers. In other words, they will be forced to change their coverage and quite possibly their doctor. Others will be channeled into Medicaid, where taxpayers must pick up the tab.
As Obamacare’s full implementation nears and its far-reaching negative impact looms, it is increasingly likely that even those who the President promised the law would help no longer will.