Woes of the Affordable Care Act Continue

Rate increases.  Penalty hikes.  Adjustment to the enrollment period.  More bureaucratic red tape.  That’s what’s coming from the affordable care act in 2016.  Foxnews.com reports:

HealthCare.gov and state-run insurance markets are entering their third year, offering taxpayer-subsidized private coverage. That’s helped cut the share of Americans who are uninsured to about 9 percent, a historical low. Still, the many moving parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, don’t always click smoothly, and people are divided about the law.

The judges are still out as to whether the original promises of the affordable care act are being kept.  The percentage of insured people has increased as promised, but the cost of that increase is the loss of individual freedoms as citizens are being forced to choose an affordable care act plan with no say in what they spend on insurance each month.  Citizens who formerly had no insurance often were in that situation because they couldn’t afford the premiums.  Now, because of threats of tax penalties, they have given in to the bullying of the government and have chosen a plan from the health exchange.

What about affordability?  Does the plan live up to its name?  Here’s what foxnews.com says:

Independent experts are forecasting bigger premium increases in 2016 than last year, averaging from the high single digits to the teens. Next week the government will release a master file that researchers use to piece together national trends.

Averages won’t tell the story, because health care is local. Premiums can vary widely from state to state, and within a state.

Most states won’t be like Minnesota, where all five carriers selling individual policies on the insurance exchange have posted double-digit increases, from 14 percent to 49 percent.

They’re not likely to be like southern California either, where officials forecast an average rise of 1.8 percent for consumers who stay with their current plan.

For more than 8 in 10 customers, premium increases will be cushioned by taxpayer subsidies. That will absorb most of the cost, but it still may pay to shop around.

Penalties are also slated to increase for those who do not comply with the forced insurance legislation.  More from foxnews.com:

The tax penalty for people remaining uninsured in 2016 is no slap on the wrist. It’s high enough to cover several weeks of groceries.

The fine will rise to the greater of either $695 or 2.5 percent of taxable income. That’s for someone without coverage for a full 12 months. This year the comparable numbers are $325 or 2 percent of income, whichever is greater.

Several organizations, from TurboTax to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, will be offering online tax penalty calculators. That can put a dollar figure on the trade-offs for those who are on the fence about signing up.

The enrollment period for the exchange has changed, too.  This year it is November 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.  For coverage to start on January 1, enrollment must be complete by December 15, 2015.

Most news sources say that ease of use of the healthcare.gov website itself has improved and that most of the big glitches have been resolved.  Phew! It sure is a relief that at least it is now easier to comply with the government encroachment in our lives!