News and Commentary

Most Liberal City In Virginia To See Increases In Obamacare Premiums As High As 247%

Charlottesville, Va., home to Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia, is one of the most liberal cities in America.

How liberal: In 2016, 79.7% of the vote went for Hillary Clinton. President Trump got just 2,960 votes in a city with a population of nearly 50,000.

So it’s the perfect place for Obamacare to implode.

City residents who don’t qualify for federal subsidies will see their premiums go up anywhere from 195% to 247% next year, according to the city’s hometown paper, The Daily Progress.

In a piece headlined “The Coverage Gap,” the paper notes that Albemarle County, which voted for Hillary 59-33, will also see the dramatic increases.

Most people — about 70 percent of those on individual plans — will see rate increases absorbed by government subsidies, and some may even see lower premiums. The highest increases primarily affect the self-employed who make more than 400 percent of the poverty level — or $47,520 for an individual.

The subsidy cliff falls particularly hard on the Charlottesville area’s entrepreneurial community, where the 2018 premiums are forcing difficult conversations about money, careers and even moving out of the region.

Ian Dixon logged on to early in the morning the day after Halloween. He’s received insurance through the Affordable Care Act since the end of 2016, when he quit his 9-5 job to start his own business. Currently, he pays $988 each month to cover himself, his wife and his two young daughters, one of whom has had health complications in the past.

In 2018, that same plan is projected to cost him $3,158 a month, with a high deductible.

“It’s a real emergency,” Dixon said. “What I’m being asked to pay is more than my mortgage. It’s like I’m buying a $600,000 house.”

Obamacare is great for those near poverty (where Democrats prefer Americans dwell), but terrible for anyone even close to middle class. Doug Gray, executive director of the Virginia Association of Health Plans, told the paper: “For the people without a subsidy, it’s ridiculous. It’s completely unaffordable. It works very well for people who are at 100 [percent] to 400 percent of the poverty line. It doesn’t work at all if you’re over that.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in August that major health insurers in some states are seeking increases as high as 30% or more for premiums on 2018 Affordable Care Act plans, according to new federal data that provide the broadest view so far of the turmoil across exchanges as companies try to anticipate Trump administration policies.

“Big insurers in Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina, Iowa and Wyoming are seeking to raise premiums by averages close to 30% or more,” according to preliminary rate requests published Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But those are averages statewide — many small jurisdictions will see increase on par with Charlottesville.