Wednesday, December 11, 2013

365,000 Have Signed Up for Private Insurance through Obamacare

I say "signed up" for insurance rather than "obtained" insurance because I still think it remains to be seen how many people have actually had their information properly transmitted to the private insurance company. I'm not assuming a 100% success rate like the Washington Post seems to be. I'm also not sure this number is requiring that people to have actually mailed a payment.
Remember, an insurance policy is a contract. It doesn't exist until a payment is made. Let's assume everyone's paid though. (Ok, try to suppress your laughter. I'll wait.) I'll tell you what the real problem is.

Done laughing? The real problem is that 803,000 have been enrolled onto Medicaid. That's not exactly the same as private insurance. That means most of the people who have "signed up" aren't paying any premiums at all. They're getting free health insurance from the taxpayers.

Here are also a couple of things to consider. First, millions of people have had their private insurance cancelled because of Obamacare, so the 365,000 number still means that we're in net negative territory for total private plans.

Second, the 365,000 total is still far below what the original estimate of success was. Sure, measured against a total trainwreck of ZERO, it's better. Sure, anything is better than zero. But let's not start congratulating ourselves just yet.

Remember that HHS has a goal of 3.3 million signups by the end of the year. That means we're going to need another three million more people to get the private insurance (not Medicaid option) in the next two weeks. Don't forget, that's what the prices are based on. If they don't hit that total number, the policies are getting re-priced, in the upwards direction.

Finally, there's still no information on the demographics of who has signed up for these plans. Personally, I'm not optimistic that the necessary number of young people have signed up. Don't forget, getting enough premiums from the young, healthy people is one of the necessary conditions to make this whole thing work.

This whole business is going to get out of control. It's going to get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it.

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