It is horrible news for us, the American people trying to make a living. But as political news goes, it is actually rather wonderful, especially if these stories multiply as we approach the 2014 elections.
Back in November 2013 I said that it seemed as if the Affordable Care Act was going to make the insurance companies crash and burn. Of course, the alternative to crashing and burning, for insurance companies that survive 2014, is to pull sharply out of their nosedive in 2015. That would mean jacking up rates.
And, according to the Daily Caller, that process has now begun:
Maryland’s beleaguered Obamacare exchange released initial premium rates for 2015 late Friday, with one insurance plan proposing a 30 percent hike.
CareFirst of Maryland Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services Inc., both CareFirst companies, submitted filings to the Maryland insurance department requesting a 30.2 percent premium increase for individual plans in 2015. CareFirst Blue Choice Inc. requested a 22.8 percent increase for next year, citing an older average membership age and a sicker patient pool.
The “good news” for the Affordable Care Act proponents is that not every company is doing the same thing. But that is because of expected subsidies!
A nonprofit Kaiser Foundation plan offered a 12.1 percent rate reduction and Evergreen Health Cooperative, 10.3 percent reduction.
The non-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan reported that the primary reason it opted to lower rates is the “assumed risk adjustment recoveries” for 2015. Risk adjustment provisions in Obamacare collect and redistribute payments from Obamacare insurers to those who have the sickest pool of patients. Experts believe risk adjustment measures are keeping Obamacare premiums artificially low now, but expect drastic premium hikes when two such provisions run out in 2017.
Kaiser Foundation also noted that higher patient co-payments also contributed to the decision to lower the rates.
Evergreen Health Coop is offering new products and admitted in its proposal that it does not have its own data to base the proposal on. They noted that reduced physician reimbursements, increased co-pays for primary care services, pharmacy benefits and prescription drug changes contributed to their ability to lower rates.
Note that even if the rates stayed flat or even got lower, consumers are still dealing with higher co-pays.
You might also ask yourself, why all these temporary subsidies like the “risk adjustment measures” that are scheduled to end in 2017? It seems pretty obvious that these provisions are the same as the “teaser rate” to get people to buy credit cards. The government wanted to get us hooked on Obamacare and then slam us with the costs. Either that or they expect Congress to adjust the law in 2017 to make the provisions permanent and add to the national debt.
This law is an insane waste of money that prevents Americans from getting affordable health care. It needs to be put out of our misery.