Obamacare

Health Insurers Say Premiums Under Obamacare Will Be Much Higher In Some Places Next Year

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When Sec. Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress last week, she admitted that health premiums would continue to rise under Obamacare, but claimed they would not rise as fast as they were rising prior to the passage of the law. "I think premiums are likely to go up," said the Health and Human Services chief, "but go up at a smaller pace than what we've seen since 2010." 

But health insurance industry sources tell The Hill that big premium hikes are on the way in some areas

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP's prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

There's going to be a lot of variation. Some states and regions will see very large hikes. Others will see minimal change.

Part of that is because of the way insurance markets are split up by state, which means that states with underperforming exchanges or bad enrollment demographics will likely fare differently than those with more robust, healthier enrollment. Another part of it is pricing strategy for the launch years. 

Some insurers initially underpriced their policies to begin with, expecting to raise rates in the second year. 

Others, especially in larger states, will continue to hold rates low in order to remain competitive.

It's also a result of changes the administration has made to Obamacare, which have been designed to help the law politically, but were always likely to cause policy problems later on. 

Insurance officials are quick to emphasize that any spikes would be a consequence of delays and changes in ObamaCare's rollout. 

They point out that the administration, after a massive public outcry, eased their policies to allow people to keep their old health plans. That kept some healthy people in place, instead of making them jump into the new exchanges.

Federal health officials have also limited the amount of money the government can spend to help insurers cover the cost of new, sick patients. 

If the Obama administration's political fixes end up leaving people with dramatically higher premiums, you can probably expect more political problems down the road. 

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  1. Some states and regions will see very large hikes. Others will see minimal change.

    Horse racely speaking, it will be interesting to see if the difference is along color lines, if the solidly red states generally will see more or less of a change or if the solid blue ones will, and if so, what this will mean for voting and voter turnout. Or if the whole pattern will be scattershot.

    1. I don’t think they are competent enough to use the program to target their enemies.

  2. she admitted that health premiums would continue to rise under Obamacare, but claimed they would not rise as fast as they were rising prior to the passage of the law.

    Ah, so it is the More Affordable Care Act.

    1. Just like they “slowed” the raising rate of unemployment! Aren’t impossible to measure bullshit stats awesome?

      1. It could have been worse. Bush just messed things up so badly. You should be thanking Obama Episiarch, you racist ungrateful bastard!!

      2. It could have been worse. Bush just messed things up so badly. You should be thanking Obama Episiarch, you racist ungrateful bastard!!

    2. Yeah, I’m sure they were planning to double under status quo…

    3. Since? Or prior to? She said since.

      It sounds like she is trying to avoid a pre-Obamacare comparison.

  3. Fake scandal! Suderman’s running another fluff piece to distract from the real issue- broken commenting. How many comments are actually making it through? 8% of projected volumes?

    There better be squirrel stew tomorrow in the reason staff canteen.

  4. But we had to “bend the cost curve” and thus had to pass Obamacare. There wasn’t a single argument made in favor of passing this steaming pile of shit that wasn’t completely counter factual, utterly idiotic, or both. Every politician or member of the media who supported this thing should be publicly shamed and driven out of public life forever.

    1. Saw your comment in the earlier thread about your new car….I take it you are pleased with it.

      1. Oh God yes. It is just amazing. What a deal. I may be crying if it breaks. But my God is it fun when it is working.

        It took me about ten minutes of owning it to get why people like 911s so much. My car is to 911s like Eric Clapton or Led Zeppelin is to blues. A really good starter but not quite the real thing. All of the things I love about that car are the pieces of the original nasty air cooled oh my God it is going to kill me 911. I could totally see myself wanting an old one in a few years.

        I don’t mean a 993. I mean a pre 964 old school one like you have. A car whose mission in life is to leak a little oil, make noise and go forth and pollute. It is funny how people view the 993 as the “ultimate refinement of the air cooled 911s”. I am starting to think of them as the ultimate compromise. If I want a comfortable daily driver, I will keep my 996. If I ever want to go totally old school, I am going all the way and getting a really primitive one.

        1. Alex Issagonnis, designer of the original Mini, said the car is the closest man has gotten to creating a living thing. I think the 911 is a real expression of that. An early one Does seem like a living thing…it’s alive in your hands. Mine only has 140 hp, but the car is so light and responsive…it always feels willing. What’s a little oil leak in exchange for that feeling. By the same token, I wonder what an early S would feel like with over 200 hp…that’s got to be off the charts fun.

          The other neat thing about the early 911’s is that, compared to their contemporaries, they were comfortable daily drivers.

          1. A 74 RS, has over 200 HP and is every bit as fast as a 996, zero to 60 in under five seconds. I can’t imagine how awesome those things are. Of course they run in the six figures for a reason.

            1. You see Reason webmasters, this is why you make it possible to contact people offlist.
              Next they’ll start talking about football.

    2. The status quo was 45,000 people dying each year because they lacked health insurance.

      Is that preferable? Is that the system you want? Why do you support 15 annual 9/11s and then call other people shameful?

      1. This has got to be satire, right?

        1. No, it’s true. I’ve done the research and if we eliminate all regulation from the medical insurance industry the result will be 9/11 times 2,356.

          Overturning Obamacare is like Kim Jong Il’s reveng on America from beyond the grave. Why do you want to be a slave to zombie Norks?

      2. The status quo was 45,000 people dying each year because they lacked health insurance.

        The Jews had it all wrong. The Angel of Death comes to people without health insurance! It’s insurance for your health, so there’s no way you could be unhealthy or die if you have it, because…insurance. How many people are dying in auto accidents every year because they don’t have auto insurance?

      3. Distinction-challenged Tony’s broken brain cannot comprehend the difference between health insurance and health care. It just muddles the two things together as if they were one and the same.

        Fucking retard.

        1. But the figure isn’t about lacking healthcare, it’s about lacking health coverage, which, oddly enough, may lead to lacking healthcare.

      4. Whereas now, nobody dies. It’s wonderful. We really should’ve listened to Tony a long time ago.

        1. You should calculate the human cost of what you refer to as freedom. Otherwise you’re not taking things seriously.

          1. You should calculate the human cost of what you refer to as freedom. Otherwise you’re not taking things seriously.

            So does this mean you’re in favor of full background checks for alcohol purchases in order to reduce alcohol-related deaths? Or does that “human cost” not count because you like to get shit-faced?

            I swear, for someone who prides himself on his intellectual capabilities, it’s remarkably easy to make you look like a two-faced moron.

            1. I didn’t say we should attempt to prevent all deaths at the expense of liberty. We tolerate huge numbers of deaths so we can drive cars, drink booze, own guns, etc.

              The thing with healthcare is that we know how to prevent 45,000 annual deaths–get everyone covered just like every other civilized country.

              I merely and humbly ask that you figure in those deaths and decide whether it’s worth the freedom gained by not having universal healthcare. Or if any such freedom is meaningful at all.

              1. What we know now – many people with insurance lost it. about a 1/6th of that number have signed up.

                IE – after one year with O-care, more people will be uninsured than before.

                Please cite how insuring fewer people will prevent deaths?

                & Please cite the original research – as I’m pretty certain it will be based directly on number of people insured – which means we can back calculate to the additional number of deaths every single year thanks to O-care and fewer people insured.

                Though I’m sure with you, for some reason, using the same calculation in reverse won’t be accurate.

                But if 45K lives lost due to 45 million uninsured and we now have 50 million uninsured – isn’t O-care directly responsible, based upon their logic, for an additional 5K deaths annually (assuming of course the numbers here are correct)?

          2. You Everybody should calculate for themselves the human cost of what you they refer to as freedom. Otherwise you they’re not taking things seriously.

            FIFY

      5. I don’t have health insurance and I haven’t died even once.

        1. I haven’t died even once.

          citation needed

      6. Why do you insist on cynically using the tragic deaths of the poor and unfortunate in order to force an authoritarian dictatorship on this country? How many have to die during your Great Leaps Forward before you’re willing to concede that an army of gun-wielding bureaucrats might not have all the answers?

        See how that works?

        I know I shouldn’t have responded, but sometimes the derp is just too damn attractive. It’s like a billowing red cape.

  5. Bend that cost curve! Bend it until it bleeds.

  6. Government, punditry, and dying companies: where you can be so horribly wrong but still keep your job, and even get promoted.

  7. Just get rid of Health Insurance altogether.
    Make it so that the doctor and other medical providers charge what people can pay. Like everything else in capitalism.

    The only reason that open heart surgery costs over $100k in the united states and costs $10k (including 1st class accomodations) in India is because of Insurance.

    The Third Party Payer is the Problem. Make it a two party payer (Patient and Doctor).

    And, for those people that can’t afford it, (as a libertarian would say) fuck them. Who says life is fair. They can go beg in the streets or perhaps some nice libertarians will get together and create a charity for them.

    1. This has to be the stupidest sockpuppet ever. Congratulations, you suck.

      1. It is like shreek without the racism and insanity.

    2. “And, for those people that can’t afford it, (as a libertarian would say) fuck them.”

      And for assholes making stupid statements like this, get fucked with rusty farm implements.

    3. Yep, although I’d amend to make it more like car insurance. Premiums and insurance for catastrophic stuff, but regular maintenance (pills, visits, anything related to preventable chronic illness) is on your dime.

      1. That’s how it always used to be, even for us poor folks, and it really was affordable.

      2. Like, I don’t know, “insurance”. At some point, maybe when HMOs came along, people stopped thinking of health insurance as something you pay for to provide for unexpected emergency care and started thinking of it as some sort of paid membership fee to unlimited health coverage.

        Nobody files a claim on their homeowner’s insurance to pay for new gutters or siding. If those costs were hidden from the consumer the way they are in the healthcare market and substituted with a monthly membership fee to the Super-Discounted Home Improvement Club Store you’d quickly see people slapping on seven coats of the most expensive paint the shop had on hand every few months, ’cause fuck it, insurance pays for it. And, shocker, costs would skyrocket.

        If you want to see what’s wrong with insurance and what the ACA will do to make it even worse, look at Medicaid. Even provided with participating GPs and RNs nearby, most Medicaid recipients go to the local emergency room for every medical situation that comes up AND fail to participate in any preventative measures such as annual physicals EVEN when the costs are totally covered by Medicaid.

        It’s all about incentives.

  8. As someone who works in health care finance, I can tell you that we are very concerned that we are adding a significant number of new Medicare members and that the exchange enrollees are sicker and older than projected. And since the ACA outlaws charging them more, and Medicare pays what it wants (below cost), it’s simple economics to project that everyone’s premiums will rise to compensate.

    And we may not see the full impact until the risk corridor transfer payments expire in a few years. Why provide comprehensive, high-quality health care when that will attract the most costly members whom you can’t charge more for the risk? This is going to get worse before it stabilizes, and Senate republican plans to delay risk mitigating provisions like the mandates will do nothing but hasten the demise of the insurance model.

    1. You have to be able to price insurance based on risk. If you can’t do that, you can’t have insurance. You have welfare for the high risk paid for by the low risk. The coverage mandates, community ratings and forced price controls have to go. The individual mandate is an outrage but ultimately a sideshow compared to the real problems this idiocy created.

      1. Saw your comment in the earlier thread about your new car….I take it you are pleased with it.

      2. guarantee issue or community rating. you can pick one. not both.
        the “this will cost less/bend cost curve” was BS from day 1

      3. Agreed; my point is that the twin pillars of the ACA are Guaranteed Issue and Community Rating — you have to sell insurance to anyone at a rate that doesn’t take their health into account.

        All of those other provisions are attempts to mitigate the many foreseeable consequences of this pipe dream, so removing or delaying those without addressing the root will just make things worse.

    2. flye, if you’re going to speak as a healthcare finance operator, you might want to say Medicaid when you mean Medicaid.

      Senate republican plans to delay risk mitigating provisions like the mandates will do nothing but hasten the demise of the insurance model.

      The insurance model is doomed under OCare, yes?

      1. Yes, Medicaid. Typing too fast.

        And yes, for the most part it is doomed. One possible outcome is NHS-like nationalized health care for all, with those who can afford it buying supplemental insurance on top, assuming that isn’t outlawed.

    3. …we are very concerned that we are adding a significant number of new Medicare members..

      I think you mean Medicaid not Medicare. We’re adding Medicaid recipients.

  9. I live in a state that already had community ratings, and my insurance rates have doubled in the last three years.

    I can’t imagine how bad the rate hikes must be in states that didn’t already mandate all that stupid shit.

  10. Get Rid of Insurance guys.

    Make it a Patient-Provider relationship.

    The only reason healthcare cost so much is because the patient doesn’t directly dole out the money.

    1. Allow people to purchase the insurance they want, instead of compelling them to purchase the insurance that politicians deem they need.

      1. It’s like the libertarian argument of PELL grants and Government Scholarships for college.

        When the Colleges realized that the government was paying for the poor, prices went up.

        I think it’s the same with Health Insurance.

        If the doctor/provider knows someone is giving you extra cash, prices go up.

        1. Insurance by itself isn’t a bad thing.

          It gets screwed up when politicians get in between the insurance company and the customer, as well as between the insurance company and the health care provider.

          It’s like third party payer, three times removed.

          1. Insurance is definitely not a bad thing. We need this to hedge risk.

            I work in Financial Risk Management. Do a lot of work in Risk.

            If you see my post below, I don’t think it works for healthcare.

            The people that require it the most are probably not working or would be able to pay for it. The retired.

            The people that need it the least are the ones working and are reluctant to pay voluntarily.

            The reason politician (the government acting as police) got involved is because of consumer complaints coming from the patients. Insurance companies weren’t being very nice.

            1. Insurance companies weren’t being very nice.

              Based upon what? While no one likes an insurance company when they say no – all polls I saw prior and during O-care said the majority of people with health care had no large issues with their insurance companies.

              Most of those same people thought health care was in shambles, but most thought they were ok and most of the people the knew were ok.

              Do you have information to counter that?

  11. I’m curious: how did the administation’s announcement that people could keep their old plans, after those plans had been cancelled, result in people staying on the old plans? How many are we talking about, here?

    The real driver of rate hikes is likely to be the level of risk in the pools, which is bound to be worse than people priced in originally. That’s what will set off the death spiral rate increases later this year. Yeah, the loss leader pricing may compound it, some.

    Note, also, that CMS has announced that it will be intruding on the state authority to sign off on networks and rates. The problem there is that holding rates down to a politically acceptable level will increase losses and the need for an insurance company bail-out. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out. In an election year.

    I wonder when the insurance companies are going to realize they are being staked out as the next sacrifice, give up on their dream of having the Total State drive people into their corrals, and turn on this law?

  12. I’m curious: how did the administation’s announcement that people could keep their old plans, after those plans had been cancelled, result in people staying on the old plans? How many are we talking about, here?

    The real driver of rate hikes is likely to be the level of risk in the pools, which is bound to be worse than people priced in originally. That’s what will set off the death spiral rate increases later this year. Yeah, the loss leader pricing may compound it, some.

    Note, also, that CMS has announced that it will be intruding on the state authority to sign off on networks and rates. The problem there is that holding rates down to a politically acceptable level will increase losses and the need for an insurance company bail-out. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out. In an election year.

    I wonder when the insurance companies are going to realize they are being staked out as the next sacrifice, give up on their dream of having the Total State drive people into their corrals, and turn on this law?

  13. Good work, squirrelz.

  14. Given the human situation, health insurance doesn’t work as well (if at all) like other insurances (Auto, fire).

    The people that require it the most are probably not working or would be able to pay for it. The retired.

    The people that need it the least are the ones working and are reluctant to pay voluntarily.

    Health Insurance is just not working out very well. It takes away the transparency of the actual cost and service between provider-patient.

    We’ve evolved. Prior civilizations, to my knowledge, took care and respected their ancestors and elders.

    1. Given the human situation, health insurance doesn’t work as well (if at all) like other insurances (Auto, fire).

      Yeah, that shit isn’t for humans…it’s for fires and cars

    2. It works as long as it is allowed to work.

      Just as lousy drivers pay more for car insurance, so should unhealthy people pay more for health insurance.

      It ain’t exactly fair, but it’s just.

      1. Get rid of it.

        Make the providers charge what people can afford.

        1. Get rid of government involvement in peaceful human transactions and let the market dictate the charges.

      2. Insurances companies will just weasel out of claims and say “take me to court.”

        How do I know this will happen? Well, it’s because it happened and keeps happening.

        With property, it’s no big deal. Insurance companies that do this practice would go out of business, and they do.

        With life, it doesn’t work.

        1. Then don’t buy health insurance and leave me the fuck out of your decision or the consequences of it. I don’t need you to decide what I need and I don’t want to decide what you need. Get it?

        2. Insurances companies will just weasel out of claims and say “take me to court.”

          Ridiculous… by the same logic:

          Restaurants will just weasel out of claims from food poisoning
          and say “take me to court.”

          Automobile insurances companies will just weasel out of claims and say “take me to court.”

          Home/rental insurance companies will just weasel out of claims and say “take me to court.”

          Doctors can openly deny life saving care, just for the fun of it, and say “take me to court.”

          Cell phone companies will just weasel out of connecting calls and say “take me to court.”

          …. If the market works in one case – why not others?

  15. Suggested alt text: “The blood of Americans works so well?see how soft & pretty it leaves my hands.”

  16. What about all the people who claimed they were kicked off their Health plan because of ObamaCare, all have been proven to be liars.

    1. all have been proven to be liars

      Citation needed

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