In defense of State of Indiana’s ACA cost claims
When Indiana recently announced that individual health insurance costs in Indiana will rise 72 percent on average because of new Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements, an immediate outcry followed from some ACA supporters, who accused the Department of Insurance (DOI) of misrepresenting these numbers in a deliberate attempt to mislead Hoosiers. The DOI provided a lengthy testimony about these numbers before the Indiana Health Finance Commission on July 22, and the DOI stands by its numbers. The fact remains that the Indiana individual health insurance market will see significant increases next year because of ACA.
The following is some background about how we arrived at and compared our cost increase number. First, we began with the average “per member per month” cost for 2012, which is based on actual filings submitted to the DOI by Indiana health insurance companies. We then compared this number to average “per member per month” cost for 2014 filings. After subtracting normally expected cost increases or “trend” costs, we arrived at a 72 percent average cost increase for 2014. This is the increase amount in insurance costs directly attributable to the ACA.
Some media outlets have highlighted costs for the absolute cheapest health plans available in Indiana in 2014 without any comparison to costs for similar plans prior to the ACA to portray the appearance of “affordability.” In fact, many “bronze” and “silver” plans will likely receive the sharpest percentage increases compared to similar health plans before ACA because younger and healthier Hoosiers will bear more of the cost shifting from senior and sicker Hoosiers. These younger and healthier Hoosiers are more likely to choose “bronze” and “silver” plans.
Indiana is not alone in seeing dramatic increases in health insurance costs under the ACA. Nor were these rates unexpected. In 2011, the State’s independent actuary, Milliman, predicted that insurance costs would increase in Indiana by 75 percent to 95 percent by 2020. The reality is that the ACA requires many Hoosiers to purchase more comprehensive and more expensive health insurance than they may want or need.
It is also important to note that these cost increases will occur regardless of who is actually paying the final bill. We acknowledge that many Hoosiers in the individual market will qualify for tax subsidies to purchase insurance in the federally-run marketplace.
However, these subsidies do not change the insurance product’s cost, only the price some consumers will ultimately pay out of pocket. More importantly, the cost of these subsidies is not free, even to those that receive them. They will be paid in full by federal taxpayers.
ACA proponents have attacked the DOI for not including federal subsidies in our insurance cost projections, which would paint a prettier, yet unrealistic, picture of the law’s costs in Indiana. This is merely an attempt to distract Hoosiers from the actual insurance costs. The regrettable fact is that health insurance costs are going up because of the ACA, regardless of who is picking up the tab.
— Stephen W. Robertson
Commissioner of Insurance
State of Indiana
Lovely performance by church group
Last Friday night I attended the presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Maple Avenue Methodist Church.
In my many years I have seen a lot of shows done by so-called amateurs — but I was totally impressed by the work of so many young people.
The stage set was beautifully done, the costumes were fabulous, and the voices of the characters and the music accompaniment were especially well done. What a lovely performance by all involved.
It does my heart good to see a group so totally engrossed in their work. My hat goes off to everyone connected with the show.
— Elizabeth Gelder
Bennett backlash seems partisan
I am not quite sure of what former Indiana School Superintendent Tony Bennett is being accused of, but I am sure if he were a Democrat there would not be much said about it.
— Jim Adams
West Terre Haute
In defense of State of Indiana’s ACA cost claims
RONN MOTT: Snow-clad Collett
Like many of you, I woke up this morning to a world that mirrors the song, “It’s a Marshmallow World.” The world was not only white it was a whipped cream coconut cake, or taffeta wedding dress white. Early on, looking out on the Park, it said, “Look at me, don’t I look good in my white dress of snow?” And, I said, “Boy, do you ever!”
TRIBUNE-STAR EDITORIAL: Backing away from discrimination
As the simmering debate over whether Indiana should place a same-sex marriage ban into its constitution, the focus has often been on the adverse effects such a ban might have on business and industry.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 19, 2013
Christmas spirit slipping away
Editorial: Take control on icy roads
Weather-related news reports have been punctuated the past couple weeks by gut-wrenching stories of death and serious injuries in vehicular accidents on the roadways. No part of our state and region have escaped these sad stories in which icy or snow-covered roadways have led to terrible tragedies.
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 18, 2013
RONN MOTT: Media merry-go-round
One day David Wire was there doing his job as Chief Meteorologist at WTHI-TV, then one day shortly after, he was gone.
LIZ CIANCONE: Nothing like the silence of a winter snowfall
I’m not a big fan of cold and snow, but …
TRIBUNE-STAR EDITORIAL: Reprieve from partisan battle
Compromise, unfortunately, has all too frequently been interpreted as a dirty word in American politics.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 16, 2013
Leadership from Ritz is lacking
Raising the bar
Around coffeeshops, kitchen tables and office watercoolers, Hoosiers have cussed and discussed the federal health care law.
EDITORIAL: Negatives outweigh positives of business property tax cut
A tax cut benefits the payer of that tax.
People relying on the services provided by the tax feel the negative impact of the cut.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Auto bailout all but forgotten as sales surge
When President Obama orchestrated the multibillion-dollar bailout of the U.S. auto industry in 2009 — GM and Chrysler were headed into bankruptcy, Ford was struggling — his many critics derided it as either a nefarious socialist plot or an attempt to buy the votes of autoworkers about to lose their jobs.
FLASHPOINT: America’s major policy shift on Iran
In a recent address to the nation, President Barack Obama acknowledged Iran “has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community.” In the same speech the president vowed to “prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 15, 2013
Work to save jobs in manufacturing
Great story on visit to Debs home
Health care signup positive experience
Help America by buying America
Have a fiscally sound Christmas
T’is the season to be thankful
Suspend Muslim immigration now
RONN MOTT: Thanks to those who go ‘extra’ mile
Many an old movie will show you a newsboy … he’s standing on a corner or in the middle of a block yelling, “Extra, extra, read all about it!”
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 14, 2013
The treatment of American Indians was unjust
Thanks for help
Editorial: Racing with momentum
The news from the NCAA on Wednesday was very, very good. Terre Haute’s LaVern Gibson Championship Course will host the 2014 and 2016 national cross country championships and the 2017 Great Lakes Regional, one of the feeder regionals for the national championship foot races.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 13, 2013
Let voters speak on marriage ban
High praise for those who help
RONN MOTT: Christmas 2013
Sitting on the front porch in my favorite chair, I began to count the buds and flowers on the Christmas cactus that is on the porch all year. The legend is it will bloom for Christmas and true to the legend this cactus has bloomed consistently around the Christmas season. I counted 40 buds and flowers and I stopped when I reached 40 with more left on the plant. I guess without hesitation that means Christmas is for sure about to arrive.
Editorial: Intriguing option for ISU towers
It’s appropriate that Indiana State University’s Recycling Center on North Ninth Street sits in the shadow of two hulking, well-used, 15-story towers that, if things develop as they might, could themselves be recycled rather than imploded.
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 12, 2013
Noteworthy in the news: Another landmark for Pat Rady
A few weeks ago, Pat Rady embarked on his 50th year as a head basketball coach. Last weekend, he punctuated his landmark season at Cloverdale High School in Putnam County with the 724th victory of his stellar career, a mark that makes him the second winningest coach — and tops among active coaches — in Indiana basketball. It’s a remarkable achievement, and he appears to be going strong.
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 11, 2013
RONN MOTT: Seeds from the same tree
Mahatma Gandhi, who was born in India before the turn of the 20th Century, went to England to study law and decided to settle in South Africa, and he did for 20 years. His work in South Africa was involved in the right of his Indian neighbors to have equal access to civil rights. He also worked for the indigenous people as well. When the people of India became restive during the early days of World War I, Gandhi came home.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 10, 2013
• Proud of diploma from McLean HS
• Sports could use drone’s eye view
• Another great downtown fest
• ISU’s silence is disappointing
MS. TAKES: Important date passes by without much notice
Recently we were asked to share our memories of the Kennedy assassination. Folks were interviewed for television or radio, or were asked to recall exactly what they were doing when they got word that our president had been murdered.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Lack of vaccinations puts children, community at risk
U.S. vaccination programs appear to have become a victim of their own success. Because many parents have never experienced the effects of childhood diseases such as mumps or measles — let alone polio — they don’t always appreciate the health risks the diseases pose and the continuing need for vaccinations.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 9, 2013
Remove politics from education
Bill Walton, Larry Bird visit Eugene V. Debs Museum
There’s an essay-type question that shows up on history exams, college applications, “Saturday Night Live” skits and quite possibly requests for platinum credit cards.
FLASHPOINT: Dealing with hunger requires less rhetoric, more action
In November, millions of families in Indiana and across the nation saw their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits cut through a planned phase-out of a temporary increase in funding that originally took place during the 2009 recession.
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