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CPA: How health insurers became cable companies — 5 things to know

Certified public accountant Larry Elkin argues in a Palisades Hudson Financial Group column that insurance companies acting as monopolies are detrimental to the market and deviating from the purpose of the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Mr. Elkin uses Pinal County, Ariz., as an example. The residents of Pinal County were going to be without an insurer through the ACA exchanges, until Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona reversed its decision to withdraw.

2. Pinal county is among the 31 percent of U.S. counties that will offer marketplace enrollees a single provider this year, which Mr. Elkin is calling the cable company model of health insurance.

3. As more insurers gain monopolies through the ACA, insurance rates are going to rise.
"As the insurer is not a charity, it is unsurprising to hear that it has request permission to dramatically increase its rates — by more than 50 percent," Mr. Elkin said.

He argues that the subsidies will not offset the increased cost, or that a majority of the public wouldn’t qualify for subsidized healthcare.

4. As long as people with pre-existing conditions rely on the ACA for insurance, insurers will make no effort to decrease insurance rates, because of a lack of competition, Mr. Elkin said.

5. He concludes that the ACA is working "backwards" from its intended outcome. "The ACA was described as a way to create competition in the health insurance market and drive costs down. In many place it has done just the opposite, driving companies out of the market and clearing the field for whoever is left."

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