NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Better Quality Insurance Policies Before Obamacare

September 18, 2014

The Daily Caller reports that health insurance policies for individuals were of higher quality prior to the Affordable Care Act. The claim comes from a study issued by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which analyzed health insurance plans across 10 major cities both prior to and after the Affordable Care Act.

 According to the study:

  • Pre-Obamacare plans actually had more comprehensive health care coverage than plans offered in the exchanges. This was the case for both age sets analyzed: 27-year-old individuals as well as 57-year-olds.
  • Last year, before the Affordable Care Act was in force, young adults had access to an average 33 health plans in their area with premiums that were lower than Obamacare, as well as lower or equal deductibles and lower out-of-pocket costs.
  • For older Americans, there were an average of 10 insurance policies in each area that had premiums and deductibles cheaper than the exchange plans offered in 2014.

According to the study, Obamacare exchange plans -- which generally offered narrow networks -- were more likely to have Health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, which generally restrict coverage for out-of-network costs. Preferred provider organizations (PPOs), on the other hand, offer coverage for health care providers outside of an insured person's network in exchange for higher cost sharing. According to the study:

  • The exchange plans had an average of 16 additional HMO plans for 27-year-olds and for 57-year-olds than did pre-Obamacare plans.
  • Similarly, the individual market prior to Obamacare offered 32 more PPO plans for 27-year-olds than did Obamacare, and 25 additional PPO plans for 57-year-old adults.

The study also cited a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that one-third of the enrollees who switched to exchange plans considered their plans "not so good" or "poor."

Source: Sarah Hurtubise, "Study: Pre-Obamacare Health Insurance Was Better Quality Than Exchange Plans," Daily Caller, September 15, 2014.


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