Recent claims by Washington state Congressional Republicans about the Affordable Care Act ignore significant consumer gains, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said today, citing three key findings by his office.
“The facts tell a different story than what opponents are saying,” Kreidler said. “Before the ACA, consumers in Washington were paying a lot more for a lot less. Many went without health insurance. Denials of coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition were common. Many plans failed to cover prescription drugs. My concern is that current Republican plans will return us to the dark days of health care before the ACA.”
To back his claims, Kreidler cites statistics like the percentage of individual health plans with annual deductibles higher than $6,000 plunging from 42 percent in 2013 to just 17 percent in 2017. The value of a typical individual plan is much closer to the value of the average employer-sponsored plan – 70 percent today compared to 40 percent in 2013. Consumers, Kriedler said, are getting more benefits for their money.
Annual premium increases have also slowed. Before the ACA, insurers increased premiums an average of 18.5 percent. Since the ACA took effect in 2014, premiums have only increased an average of 6.7 percent.
“I’ve consistently said that the ACA was not perfect and that improvements need to be made,” Kreidler said. “My focus is on changes that benefit consumers instead of harming them.”