Originally published June 5 2015
Obama's Affordable Care Act becoming more unaffordable than ever as insurance rates skyrocket
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) For years, anyone who suggested that the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, was mistitled because the law would actually increase out-of-pocket expenses for consumers, was dismissed as a political hack or Obama hater. But now, five years after Obamacare became the law of the land, new data is, once again, proving the naysayers correct.
As reported by Politico, the cost of insurance premiums, for coverage mandated by the law, are set to dramatically increase as insurance companies seek to compensate for the additional cost of providing higher coverage. In at least one case, an insurer – New Mexico Blue Cross Blue Shield – is proposing a 50 percent rate hike, though officials say they may not approve it.
Nevertheless, health insurance experts are nearly universally predicting that premiums – which had already begun to climb because of the law – are set to increase even more significantly in 2016 than in the first two years of Obamacare exchange coverage. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute, Politico reported, premiums increased, on average, by about 5.4 percent.
Rates will only go up from here
As Politico further reported:
The premium increases come at a tenuous time for Obamacare, which remains under fire from a Republican Congress that wants to repeal the law, while a Supreme Court ruling on federal subsidies for the health insurance looms in June as well.
Actually, Republican leaders in Congress have given up trying to repeal Obamacare, which really is a disservice to the American people, given that the law is beginning to ravage consumers' pocketbooks more and more each year. And lest we forget, Obamacare coverage for lawmakers and their staffs is subsidized by taxpayers.
Meanwhile, American consumers continue to get the shaft by a law whose namesake, President Obama, promised repeatedly would benefit consumers by lowering their costs.
"Insurers seem to be reporting higher trend, which means they are seeing bigger increases in health care costs," Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Politico. "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."
And the "risk pool" is worse than insurance companies envisioned because fewer younger, healthier Americans who don't require much healthcare are signing up for coverage.
Not so "affordable"
Politico reported that a number of insurance plans have yet to make their proposed rates public, though most will soon. And none so far have announced plans that call for an increase as high as the New Mexico plan, though others are nonetheless sharp.
For instance, Blue Cross Blue Shield in Maryland and Tennessee, both with the largest market share in their respective states, is seeking rate hikes of more than 30 percent. Moda Health Plan in Oregon is seeking a 25 percent hike; others are seeking more modest increases.
As steep as some of the increases may wind up becoming, it isn't as though there weren't warnings.
For instance, last year, reports noted that rate hikes of 78 percent were seen in some plans, according to HealthPocket, a nonpartisan health insurance research company that analyzed government data on individual health premiums in the 2013 market, before the Obamacare exchanges went live in 2014.
The group found that rate hikes were up in all age brackets, and much more than normal.
Worse hit? Younger Americans who are just getting started in careers and are at the bottom of their earning potential. Young families are especially hard-pressed, even those who may qualify for subsidies.
The bottom line is this: The increases will get millions more making the rhetorical statement, "I thought this was the Affordable Care Act."
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