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PPACA expected to “barely bend” health care cost curve, challenging affordability of health insurance

March 24th, 2012

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will be unable to significantly slow the rising cost of health care.  As a result, the price of health coverage will soon become unaffordable for low and moderate income Americans, concludes a projection prepared by Richard A. Young, MD, and Jennifer E. DeVoe appearing in the March/April Annuals of Family Medicine.

The authors predict based on the current rate of increase in health insurance premiums and wages and barring significant structural changes in the health care system, the average cost of a family health insurance premium will equal half of household income by 2021 and surpass the average household income by 2033.  When out-of-pocket costs are added to premiums, the 50 percent threshold would be reached by 2018 and exceed household income by 2030, they forecast.

Based on their prognostication of a “barely bending” health care cost curve, Young and Devoe suggest America’s health care landscape could undergo major change.  The shift away from all in employer-paid group insurance coverage in favor of defined contribution health plans could accelerate.  They speculate that lower income workers could determine they can’t afford to participate in these plans and instead attempt to qualify for Medicaid under PPACA provisions expanding the government paid health coverage.

This point coincides with a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate issued this month reducing the amount of people expected a year ago to obtain commercial insurance as the PPACA is implemented.  “Fewer people are now expected to obtain health insurance coverage from their employer or in insurance exchanges; more are now expected to obtain coverage from Medicaid or CHIP or from nongroup or other sources,” the estimate states.  “More are expected to be uninsured.”  The updated estimate is based on a revised CBO economic forecast of lower wages and higher unemployment during the 2012-2021 forecast period than projected in March 2011.

 


Need a speaker or webinar presenter on the Affordable Care Act and the outlook for health care reform? Contact Pilot Healthcare Strategies Principal Fred Pilot by email fpilot@pilothealthstrategies.com or call 530-295-1473. 

  1. March 27th, 2012 at 05:42 | #1

    What’s wrong with everyone? Bending the trend has everything to do with mitigating the new production of chronic disease “And” managing existing chronic disease. No shell games concerning doc pay, universal coverage, etc. will have any impact. Why not check what the CDC says? 75%+ of our national healthcare cost goes to treat chronic disease!

    The so-called uninsured are accessing “Federally Qualified Health Centers” at the rate of 30 million patients per year, according to their own national website! Our royal leaders never mention FQs. Additionally, FQ patients purchase drugs at 340B rates, or brand drugs at AWP minus 80%. If they need to be hospitalized, the FQs handle this too, or the patient simply presents himself/herself to the most convenient ER.

    My thoughts? PPACA is the result of liberal guilt/social engineering not looking out for the uninsured but to level/redistribute health to a low common status!

    Now without all this social crap, is our system fragmented, dysfunctional and screwed up? Of course. Everyone’s at fault to some degree, but one doesn’t fix a leaking ship by placing 100 pounds of dynamite in the hold and setting it off!

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