USA Today: The Cascade of 2017 Obamacare Premium Hikes Has Arrived
State insurance regulators across the country have approved health care premium increases higher than those requested by insurers, despite a national effort to keep rates for policies sold on Affordable Care Act exchanges from skyrocketing, a USA TODAY analysis shows. In eight states, regulators approved premiums that were a percentage point or more higher than carriers wanted, said Charles Gaba, a health data expert at ACASignups.net who analyzed the rates for USA TODAY. As of Tuesday, those states are Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Utah...“To consumers, this seems terrible like, ‘Oh, they’re price gouging us,’ ” Gaba said. “But part of regulators’ jobs is to keep insurance companies solvent so they can continue to give people insurance.” In fact, this year many insurance carriers have requested premium rate increases that are closer to what regulators think are appropriate, says Gaba. “Ideally you want what’s requested to be what’s necessary,” he added. “And that was part of what happened.” Insurer withdrawals from some markets and rate hikes of more than 50% in some areas prompted fears that some insurance marketplaces were at risk of collapsing.'They're just doing what's necessary to keep these companies afloat' is the whole problem. The reason that so many major insurers are pulling out of Obamacare is that the disproportionately sicker risk pools are quite expensive to cover, resulting in huge financial losses to the providers. To offset those losses, enormous rate increases are being approved, making coverage even less affordable for the relatively healthy consumers trying to keep their heads above water -- including millions who receive taxpayer subsidies through the law. As their costs skyrocket even further, more and more younger, healthier people will either walk away from the law, or continue to avoid signing up for it.
After all, paying the individual mandate tax is much cheaper than shelling out big bucks every month, on top of out-of-pocket costs; plus, in the event of a health emergency, insurers are required under the law to accept all comers during open enrollment, regardless of pre-existing conditions. This is the unsustainable, spiraling trajectory that has industry experts warning of a potential full collapse. By the way, here is the article's accompanying infographic, illustrating the prevalence of double-digit premium increases. As you peruse this map, recall that the tent pole promise of Obamacare was that it would significantly reduce costs for virtually all American consumers. Instead, here is the "Affordable" Care Act reality:
Based on that chart, only a small handful of states will have the supposed 'good fortune' of experiencing single-digit hikes. The vast majority will experience cost surges in the double-digits, with roughly half of all states getting slammed with increases of at least 20 percent. Time magazine reviews the eight states where consumes will suffer the most next year, where regulators have imposed rate jumps of at least 30 percent. The piece's opening sentence says it all: "The Affordable Care Act is getting a lot less affordable for many Americans." Meanwhile, many Arizonans find themselves in Obamacare's crosshairs, getting rocked by the double-whammy of soaring costs and dwindling-to-nonexistent choices:
Arizonans will have fewer options at higher rates when they buy coverage for 2017 on the federal health insurance exchange. This week, the Arizona Department of Insurance released details about the plans and rates being offered on the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Maricopa County will only have one insurer on the exchange, Health Net, which is offering four plans and raising rates by nearly 75 percent. “It’s definitely on the high side. There's no question about that, but Arizona is not the only one with significant, more than 50 percent increases," insurance analyst Jim Hammond, publisher of the Hertel Report, said...In the rest of Arizona’s counties, except for Pima, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be the only insurer. Those rates are going up 51 percent. Other insurers will be offering plans off the exchange this year, but most are also raising rates by about 70 percent. Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.Arizona's Democratic Senate candidate calls her vote in favor of Obamacare one of her proudest moments. She's getting smoked. Republicans should press this issue down the home stretch of the campaign. As we mentioned yesterday, Americans for Prosperity is rolling out an ad campaign in key Senate races to help hold Democrats accountable for their failing law:
See video 'Deborah Ross Keeps Defending Obam..' here: .http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2016/10/20/usa-today-the-cascade-of-obamacare-premium-hikes-has-arrived-n2234719?utm_source=thdailypm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl_pm&newsletterad=