Largest Texas Insurer Wants To Raise Obamacare Premiums By 60%
Remember those good old days when the Democrats were working to shove Obamacare down our throats? Americans were promised the government takeover of healthcare would translate into big cost reductions for individuals, families and businesses. President Obama said the “typical” family would see a yearly $2500 savings in their health costs. Perhaps Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas never heard Obama’s promise because the largest health insurer in Texas wants to raise its rates on individual policies by almost 60 percent.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has about 603,000 individual policyholders and, unlike other insurers in the state, offers coverage in every county. In a recent filing with federal regulators, a summary of which is available on HealthCare.gov, the company said it is seeking increases averaging from 57.3 percent to 59.4 percent across its individual market plans.
The problem is that insurance companies are losing money hand over foot on the Obamacare plans due to lower enrollment than expected, and an older, sicker customer base. Some big insurance companies have left, or are threatening to leave because they are losing too much money.
Roughly half of the state exchange marketplaces created to sell the Obamacare-compliant insurance plans have gone bankrupt.
Consulting firm Avalere Health found that the lowest cost “silver” plan (the most popular option in the law’s insurance marketplaces) increased 13 percent in 2016. That doesn’t seem like bending the cost curve downward. And guess who’s paying for the cost increases? According to one report, “More than 80 percent of exchange customers qualify for subsidies, so they don’t bear the full cost of the premium increases.” They might not bear the full cost, but the rest of America does, as the cash for the subsidies come from the pockets of the taxpayers.
And 2017 looks like it’s going to be worse. Along with the Texas increase described above, North Carolina’s largest insurer said it will seek an average increase of 18.8 percent. On the bright side thats less than 60 percent. WellPoint (now Anthem) it is currently seeking premium hikes from nearly 20-41 percent in Indiana for coverage under the health care law.
The “party line” from the adminstration is the concerns about 2017 premiums are premature and overblown.
In a statement, the Health and Human Services Department said the Texas rate request is just the beginning of a process. Consumers in Texas and other states will have lower-premium options when sign-up season begins Nov. 1. If they don’t like what their current insurer is charging for 2017, they can switch.
“Consumers will have the final word when they vote with their feet during open enrollment,” said the statement.
Sure, just like, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.”
It seems as if almost everything the Liberals told us about Obamacare was a lie, and almost everything the Conservatives warned the country about Obamacare was the truth.