As of November 2nd, 2013, Florida has the highest number of enrollees in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with 3,571 having selected a plan. Florida is one of thirty-six states with a fully or partially run federal insurance exchange. In Florida 123,870 submitted complete applications with 93,456 eligible to enroll in a plan. Texas is second with 108,410 applicants, 80,960 eligible and 2,991 who selected a plan.
But there is a problem with who will pay for the coverage.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) writes, “Buried deep in the Department of Health and Human Services’ press release that accompanied the president’s Nov. 14 speech was this sentence: ‘Though this transitional policy was not anticipated by health insurance issuers when setting rates for 2014, the risk corridor program should help ameliorate unanticipated changes in premium revenue. We intend to explore ways to modify the risk corridor program final rules to provide additional assistance.’”
“Risk corridors are generally used to mitigate an insurer’s pricing risk. Under ObamaCare, risk corridors were established for the law’s first three years as a safety-net for insurers who experience financial losses. While risk corridors can protect taxpayers when they are budget-neutral, ObamaCare’s risk corridors are designed in such an open-ended manner that the president’s action now exposes taxpayers to a bailout of the health-insurance industry if and when the law fails,” notes Rubio.
Rubio raises a red flag noting, “Subsequent regulatory rulings have made [it] clear that the administration views this risk-corridor authority as a blank check, requiring no further consultation or approval by Congress. A final rule handed down in March by HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services states: ‘Regardless of the balance of payments and receipts, HHS will remit payments as required under section 1342 of the Affordable Care Act.’”
On November 14th, the American Academy of Actuaries issued a press release saying that President Obama’s plan to reverse health-insurance cancellations “could lead to negative consequences for consumers, health insurers, and the federal government.” More specifically, the academy said, “Costs to the federal government could increase as higher-than-expected average medical claims are more likely to trigger risk corridor payments.”
Rubio concludes with, “It is a damning indictment of ObamaCare’s viability when the president’s only response to people losing their health insurance plans entails putting them on the hook for bailing out insurance companies. The American people are already being directly hurt by ObamaCare’s early failures, and it is unconscionable that they be expected to bail out companies when more failures emerge.”