Statistics Never Lie, but They Can Also Fail to be Totally Truthful

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December 7, 2016 by Harry Stoll

According to a recent report from The Atlantic Information Services on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, almost half of consumers purchasing Obamacare compliant individual health plans do NOT receive a tax-payer provided subsidy from the government in order to afford a plan. 50% do NOT receive help paying for an Obamacare plan.  This statistic struck me as being a rather high percentage. In the midst of this current Obamacare open enrollment, including well-publicized and significant health insurance premium increases across much of the country, we heard the federal government spokespersons tell us that despite the large premium increases, 85% of those consumers enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges will see little premium increase because they receive subsidies.  85%? I thought it was 50%?  It turns out both the AIS Report and the federal government spokespersons are technically correct and truthful.  Statistics don’t lie.  But they can fail to be totally truthful.

Yes, 85% of consumers enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges do receive a subsidy to help with those large premium increases. However, this is one of those statistics that is true, and a fact, yet it is also one of those statistics that simply does not complete pi (pun intended).  There are at least a few million consumers purchasing Obamacare plans off the exchange.  So, a reporter from  Atlantic Information Services recently sat down and called a good number of Blue Cross plans and asked a simple question: “How many of your Obamacare individual health insurance policyholders get a subsidy and how many do not”?  The report covers 26 state Blues plans.

Why is this report important? Because consumers who do not get a subsidy must pay the full premium and absorb all of the big rate increases, as well as pay their full deductible and copayment increases. Some of these increases have been very significant, even thousands of dollars annually in many cases.

I will not bore you with all the exact figures and statistics state by state, but suffice it to say, when the tallies were completed in the AIS report the totals were stark: 2.3 million Blues plans consumers with subsidies and 2.4 million without subsidies.

After this AIS report was issued and distributed, Charles Gaba at estimated the on and off exchange enrollment for these plans based upon his accurate data at the end of the first quarter 2016. “Roughly 48% of all individual policies sold by these Blues carriers are subsidized, while another 48% are ACA-Compliant but unsubsidized.” The remaining 4% of plans are grandfathered plans that will soon be extinct and are unsubsidized.

This report indicates a significant number of individual health insurance plan purchasers have been negatively impacted by large premium increases and large increases in their out-of-pocket costs. The health insurance consumers purchasing unsubsidized plans are now leaving unpaid invoices with their medical providers because their costs are skyrocketing, yet there is no subsidy available.

Medical providers can rely on United Credit Service to recognize how statistics fit into the big picture. We understand medical providers are seeing more patients with unsubsidized plans and realize the unsubsidized patients make up  50% of individual health plan purchasers, not 15%.  These patients are absorbing the full increases in premiums and in out-of-pocket costs, making them more likely to skimp on care and payments to their providers. This emotional and financial dilemma for providers and their indebted patients makes the choice of a medical collection agency very crucial.  Financial counselors at UCS are experienced diplomats in the delicate art of medical collections. Your patients are as important to us as they are to you. This is why our ACA certified Professional Collection Specialists will always act professionally and show your patients the respect and dignity they deserve. We are dedicated to maintaining a positive balance between results and relationships.

Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Visit our website at, call 877-723-2902 or check out our YouTube video.


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