Concerned about national health plans

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 29, 2013 

Interesting numbers in the Nov. 17 articles on Obamacare, "Young and Old Sign Up..." and "State enrolls 2,264 Whatcom residents...".

Statewide, 57,719 people enrolled in October. For 89 percent of them this meant simply accepting free Medicaid. (Free because the federal government will pay the cost for three years as an inducement for setting up a state exchange. The state is on the hook after that. Even the free federal money comes from taxes we pay the IRS.)

Only one-quarter of those not qualifying for Medicaid, or three percent of the total, will pay the full price of their private plans. Obamacare envisions that premiums from healthier, younger people will compensate for the greater medical expenses among older, unhealthier people. But 57 percent of those signing up for private plans are over 45 years old, and only 23 percent are under 35 years old. In fact, only 5 percent are under 24 years old. It remains to be seen how this will work out, but it seems unbalanced to me.

The picture is similar in Whatcom County, where 2,264 people enrolled. Of these, 1,977 or 87 percent accepted free Medicaid. Only 53 people paid the full price of their private plans.

I believe the whole situation is poised to introduce huge costs from many new patients, and expensive new treatments, that cannot be covered by the premiums collected.

Denis Hayner

Bellingham

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