Monday, January 7, 2013

Health Insurers Raise Some Rates by Double Digits

 

Health Train Express and the New York Times are reporting Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.

Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.

In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.

In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month.

The proposed increases compare with about 4 percent for families with employer-based policies.

This fact emphasizes how poorly PPACA performs in regard to "AFFORDABILITY”, a key feature in it’s name. The new law allows insurance premiums to have a huge difference in premiums between group and individual policies.  Individuals are excluded from  “leveling the playing field” and are paying an extra-ordinary price for health insurance, as has always been the case.

The review process not only reveals the sharp disparity in the rates themselves, it also demonstrates the striking difference between places like New York, one of the 37 states where legislatures have given regulators some authority to deny or roll back rates deemed excessive, and California, which is among the states that do not have that ability.

New York, for example, recently used its sweeping powers to hold rate increases for 2013 in the individual and small group markets to under 10 percent. California can review rate requests for technical errors but cannot deny rate increases.

The double-digit requests in some states are being made despite evidence that overall health care costs appear to have slowed in recent years, increasing in the single digits annually as many people put off treatment because of the weak economy.

The review process not only reveals the sharp disparity in the rates themselves, it also demonstrates the striking difference between places like New York, one of the 37 states where legislatures have given regulators some authority to deny or roll back rates deemed excessive, and California, which is among the states that do not have that ability.

Currently the public and patients have little knowledge of this glaring fact, and how misleading PPACA is in it’s current state.

We can lay this fact on congress who failed to read and/or understand the PPACA they passed for political expediency and gain by Democrats. Not one Republican voted for this law, a sure indicator something serious was wrong that goes beyond the partisan excuse.

Brace yourselves, the worst is yet to come.

At the same time while the law increased eligibility, premium rates will cause many to be unable afford insurance, and the difference may very well negate any gains from PPACA.

Where were the auditors, and the CBO, or anyone for that matter on this glaring and sad fact !

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