According to the headline over at National Journal, “Obamacare Enrollees Are Surprisingly Smart Shoppers”. What makes them so smart? Well, about 1.2 million exchange enrollees “ended up switching plans.”
Or perhaps they just aren’t inordinately stupid. After all, if keeping the plan you chose last year could result in premium hikes of hundreds if not thousands of dollars more this year thanks the ObamaCare’s goofy subsidy mechanism, shopping around is the pretty obvious thing to do.
The National Journal’s Sam Baker, to his credit, makes note of this:
Before the 2015 open-enrollment period, which ended last month, it was an open question whether consumers who signed up in 2014 would come back to the exchanges and shop around for a better deal.
If they didn’t, they were at risk for particularly large premium increases, because of quirks in the way the law’s insurance subsidies are calculated. The Health and Human Services Department strongly encouraged returning consumers to shop around this year.
Unfortunately, the article then reports the Obama Administration’s spin without reporting any dissenting voice:
Kevin Griffis, HHS’s acting assistant secretary for public affairs, said the rate of plan-switching was better than HHS had expected and higher than the rates for Medicare Part D.
Consumers’ engagement will also send a message to insurance companies, he said, that “it’s critical to compete on price” on the law’s insurance exchanges.
More likely it is sending the Obama Administration a message that it has constructed a messed up system. But don’t count on that message getting through.