Monday, July 6, 2015

ObamaCare Ineffective in Controlling Premiums

The Obama administration is fond of saying the health law has lowered projected government health costs by as much as 20%. Furthermore, the health law requires that insurance companies must justify rate increases of 10% or more.

The administration should tell this to insurers, who are asking for premium increases averaging 20% to 40% for 2016, and who can justify their rate increases. And they should inform consumers,k who must pay for these higher preimiums.

Premium increases come after the first full year with the new insurance exchanges and federal standards requiring insurers to accept all comers, without charging higher prices because of illness or disability. Many insurers claim premium payments routinely exceeded more than 100% of premium income.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plars are seeking rate rate increases of 23% in Illinois, 25% in North Carolina, 31% in Oklahoma, 36% in Tennessee, and 54% in Minnesota. Moda Health in Oregon, that state’s largest insurer, received a 25% hike, and the second largest plan, LifeWise 22%. Scott White Health Plan in Texas is asking for a 32% increase, and the widely admired Geisinger Health Plan in Pennsylvania, often praised as national leader in coordinated care, has requested a 40% increase for its HMO.

These increases have raised the question about the effectiveness of the law. Consumers are proving reluctant to switch plans, when they have no guarantee they can keep their doctors. And 45% of the healthy young in the 18 -34 millenial generation say they are more willing to pay the penalty for remaining uninsured rather than select a high deductible ObamaCare approved plan.

President Obama likes to boast the health law has caused 16 -17 million to become insured, but he fails to mention that 33 million remain uninsured . It may be that this administration will challenge increased premiums of 10% or more, but it far from certain how many of these increases will be decreased after review.

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