President Obama put out an infomercial Wednesday claiming that “most people” will only have to pay $75 a month for Obamacare in 2017.
“That’s less than your cellphone bill,” said the president in his new sales pitch.
Many people reacted to Obama’s statement with disbelief.
@dcexaminer Since when is a cell bill $600 a month and an additional $8000 deductible before I can make a call??
— JustSomeDoofus (@HumaDanger) November 16, 2016
Obama’s cellphone bill must be CRAZY expensive if Obamacare costs less than his monthly bill. https://t.co/48UJGUtYfL
— JimW_in_NM (@JimW_in_NM) November 16, 2016
— Curtis Hebert (@CurtisHebert) November 16, 2016
The Washington Examiner said it appeared the president was including federal subsidies in his calculation. “That can bring the price down for some to as low as $75, according to health websites,” it reported.
Obama’s claims in the video echo those he made back in 2013 in the lead up to the opening of the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces.
In August of that year, the president, in an interview on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, said, “Anybody who doesn’t have health insurance in this country is going to be able to get it at an affordable rate, and we were just talking with some folks earlier about the fact that for a lot of people it’ll be cheaper than your cellphone bill.”
Obama repeated the claim the following month at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Awards Dinner at the Washington Convention Center.
While extolling the benefits of Obamacare, he said, “You can offer your family the security of health care … for less than your cellphone bill.”
However, the president’s rhetoric runs contrary to reports that Obamacare will be hit with huge premium increases, jumping the average monthly payment up to $300,
“Obamacare premiums are set to rise 25% on average in 2017, and many consumers purchasing coverage through the exchanges will be down to just one insurer, the White House confirmed this week,” Fox Business reported in October.
St. Louis insurance broker Emily Bremer, past president of the Missouri Association of Health Underwriters, told Fox that small corporations feeling the effect of the premium increases are beginning to offer their employees additional “choices” when it comes to their insurance plans, such as higher-deductible plans.
The Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey reported deductibles rose 12 percent in 2016, and the increases are expected to continue.
For the average American family, this can mean unexpected out-of-pocket costs — or even worse, they might ignore health warnings.
Bremer also predicted companies will reduce insurance eligibility of spouses in 2017 to offset premium rate increases.
“Employers are looking at reducing contributions or access to employer plans for spouses due to the employer mandate,” she said. “Employers are trying to avoid or reduce penalty exposure to focus on keeping coverage affordable for the employee as well.”
Employees of Fortune 500-type corporations can also expect to see more choices when it comes to their insurance plans in 2017, according to Beth Grellner of the insurance brokerage firm Willis Towers Watson.
“Large corporations are also struggling with insurance cost increases and are starting to focus on managing high-cost claimants more efficiently,” Grellner said. “Giving employees more options, or the opportunity to choose a plan that best fits their needs, can create cost savings for both the corporation and employee in the long run.”
Eric Wilson of Wilson Associates health insurance company said many employees will notice a change in coverage of their families for 2017.
“Employers are starting to cover their individual employees, but not their families,” he said.
In such situations, Wilson advised, “exhaust every option available to you, as different plans make more sense for different family members depending on their health situations.”
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