What Does The CBO Score Say About Cost Impact on People With Chronic Conditions?

by Ask Hilbert

On May 24, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of the effects of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed by the House of Representatives on May 4.

Cbo Report

Under this bill, insurance companies would be allowed to pay a smaller proportion of your health care costs. Those who are older or who have chronic or pre-existing conditions would see their premiums rise considerably, while the premiums for younger and/or healthier people are projected to go down. The CBO analysis makes it clear that people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to afford comprehensive individual health insurance, despite the $2000-$4000 tax credit and federal funding of high-risk pools that are currently in this bill.[1]

Primarily by cutting Medicaid and income-based subsidies for buying private insurance plans, the CBO estimates that this bill would reduce the federal deficit over the next 10 years by $119 billion. However, the analysis forecasts that 14 million people would be dropped from insurance rolls in 2018 alone and 51 million more people (23 million more than under Obamacare—this is the topline number you probably saw in the news) would be uninsured over those ten years if this bill were to become law. A disproportionally large number of older people with lower incomes would lose their insurance.

Some Essential Health Benefits are likely to be excluded in some states—those most relevant to individuals with acute or chronic conditions are rehabilitative and habilitative treatment and prescription drug benefits. Of great concern is that the “Affordable Care Act’s ban on annual and lifetime limits on covered services would no longer apply to health benefits not defined as essential in a state.”[2] “In response to such changes in minimum requirements, insurers would probably narrow the scope of benefits included in their plans”[3] and could impose additional charges for additional benefits.

Additionally, insurance companies would be able to charge older Americans up to 5 times more their younger counterparts (Obamacare limits that difference to 3 times). This measure, combined with the repeal of income-based subsidies, could result in premiums for low-income seniors skyrocketing by 800%.

The Senate is expected to draft their own bill to reform and replace Obamacare, and it is not expected to resemble this House version that was passed.

[1] https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/hr1628aspassed.pdf, pp41.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., pp25.

Today's Guest Blog Post is from AskHilbert.com, a site that strives to help patients keep their financial issues in order, by helping to keep the bills paid, insurance filed and claim forms filled out, as well as other services. You can connect with them on their website: AskHilbert.Com

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