Saturday, May 30, 2015

NIGHTMARE: Massive Obamacare Price Hikes Coming

This report is coming from mainstream Politico:
The cost of Obamacare could rise for millions of Americans next year, with one insurer proposing a 50 percent hike in premiums, fueling the controversy about just how “affordable” the Affordable Care Act really is.
The eye-popping 50 percent hike by New Mexico insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield is an outlier, and state officials may not allow it to go through. But health insurance experts are predicting that premiums will rise more significantly in 2016 than in the first two years of Obamacare exchange coverage. In 2015, for example, premiums increased by an average of 5.4 percent, according to PwC’s Health Research Institute...

“Insurers seem to be reporting higher trend, which means they are seeing bigger increases in health care costs,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “But really what’s going on here is they now have data showing what the risk pool looks like. Initially in 2014 they were completely guessing about who was going to enroll and how much health care they were going to use.”
Many plans haven’t yet made public their proposed rates; Monday is the deadline for publishing and providing an explanation for rate hikes of at least 10 percent. None announced so far is as dramatic as the New Mexico plan, although a few others are also quite sharp. The Blues in Maryland and Tennessee, both with the largest market share on the exchanges in their states, are seeking increases of more than 30 percent. In Oregon, Moda Health Plan — which attracted more than 40 percent of exchange customers in 2015, despite competing against a dozen other health plans — is seeking average rate increases of 25 percent.

And it could get worse:
Hovering over the rate-setting season is the specter of the King v. Burwell lawsuit currently before the Supreme Court. A ruling is expected in late June, and defeat for the White House would mean subsidies would be eliminated in at least 34 states that use the federal health insurance exchange. That would throw the insurance markets into chaos.
Because of the King uncertainty, at least a half dozen states, including Texas, are allowing insurers to submit two sets of rates depending on which way the court rules. But for the most part the proposed 2016 rates don’t account for the possibility that subsidies might disappear for millions of low-income Americans.
“How do you price for the apocalypse?” asks John Gorman, a consultant who works with insurers.
Government involvement in healthcare needs to stop now. Anything government gets involved in from housing to education ends up with soaring prices.


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