With so much information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) flooding airwaves, news print, and online media, it is hard to sift through all of the rhetoric and find the facts. What’s worse is that the majority of individuals weighing in on the topic are politicians, reporters, and pundits. The best way to find out the truth about the ACA is to either read it, or talk to insurance professionals who are experts in the field and who understand the inner workings of the legislation.
In order to better equip consumers such as yourself with the information needed to make informed decisions and conclusions about the bill, down below you’ll find a summary of two opposing view points on the affordability of the ACA that come from insurance professionals. These individuals work in the field of insurance as licensed agents, giving them a bird’s eye view of the impact of the ACA on the clients they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Why Some Agents Believe the ACA Is Unaffordable
Many health insurance agents believe that the Affordable Care Act, while full of good intentions, is actually a bad thing for consumers in America. This is largely due to the fact that, despite the aim of the bill being affordable health insurance, the costs of obtaining coverage has actually increased. There are three factors that agents cite as being the cause of this increase.
One of the big factors is that the ACA is not really about dropping the price of insurance, but about redistributing wealth by subsidizing one group of consumers by raising the cost for a different group. The line of reasoning here is that there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” The subsidies being granted by the government to help some consumers afford their monthly health insurance premium come from taxpayer dollars, which in essence means that someone else is paying for another person’s health care coverage. The only way to afford doing this is to raise taxes and collect more revenue, which is bad for consumers as it eats into their income, leaving them less money for their own coverage or other things they need.
The second reason that the ACA is considered to be unaffordable by some insurance agents is because many individuals are losing their current plan due to non-compliance with the law, and the new coverage actually costs more, but has fewer benefits. This means that consumers pay more out of pocket for coverage and for other medical expenses, which is the exact opposite of being affordable.
Affordability ties heavily into the free market concept of competition. With the ACA, there is only four plans, where before, there were hundreds. Insurance companies were allowed to create their own insurance products, as long as they met legal requirements, presenting consumers with tons of options for health care coverage. This competition, though heavily regulated, allowed people to find plans that were in their price range and had benefits they needed for their health care. Through the ACA, this has been eliminated.
Why Other Agents Feel the ACA Is Affordable and Right for America
While quite a few agents are against the ACA, there are many who fall on the opposite side of the spectrum. These professionals think the legislation is a blessing, especially for small businesses. A lot of the agents who are all for the ACA believed that small businesses were having a hard time affording health insurance for their employees.
To them, there is a huge market for affordable insurance plans, and the ACA helps to meet that need. One of the chief concerns for those opposed to the legislation was that it reduced competition and choice, which makes products more expensive. These agents feel the opposite is true. They feel the subsidies are increasing the competitive nature of the market, which is part of what is driving down the cost of insurance.
Rather than seeing the cost of the subsidies raising taxes as a bad thing, they tend to focus on the results the ACA is producing with those who were not able to afford health insurance before. Millions of people who were not previously insured, that possibly went without needed medical care, can now afford to get the treatment they deserve.
While lots of agents believe that the Affordable Care Act is good for America, they are still not blind to some of the consequences that come along with the bill. For some small businesses, the coverage will still not be cheap enough, and it will actually be more affordable for them in the long run to take the penalty for not offering coverage.
These are two opposing viewpoints that give an inside look at what insurance professionals think about this new health insurance law. Ultimately, it is up to you, the consumer, to weigh out the arguments, research the facts, and draw your own conclusion about whether or not the ACA is really affordable or not.