The Affordable Healthcare Act is about to get a little less affordable. Again.
Health insurance companies have petitioned for insurance rate hikes of 20% or more, because all the people who’ve gotten health insurance under the law are the people they turned down for costing them too much before the law mandated they accept them. And, as a result, everyone has to pay more. A lot more.
Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.
The Oregon insurance commissioner, Laura N. Cali, has just approved 2016 rate increases for companies that cover more than 220,000 people. Moda Health Plan, which has the largest enrollment in the state, received a 25 percent increase, and the second-largest plan, LifeWise, received a 33 percent increase.
I’m pretty psyched to see BCBS on there (she said, sarcastically). After losing our (fantastic, low deductible, low cost) health insurance plan with them a few years ago when the exchanges launched, we were forced on to their Obamacare plan, which hiked out rates by almost 25%, while our deductibles skyrocketed to an insane $3500 per person. And that’s for the best, most comprehensive plan available on their website that wasn’t an HMO. The plan went up last year, something we weren’t immediately aware of because the backlog of ACA-related paperwork BCBS failed to process included our automatic debit information. When they discovered the premiums weren’t exiting our bank account swiftly enough, BCBS cancelled our plan – something they’re not supposed to do under the new law – leaving us without insurance for months, but never actually telling us about it.
Now, it’ll cost us even more to have terrible customer service and an inscrutable health insurance system that’s not guaranteed to work.
The Obama Administration appears vaguely aware that Americans are unhappy about the effects of the new law. Since they can’t do anything about the rate increases – they’re built in to the law, which insurance companies authored to their own benefit, alongside a de facto bailout the law will trigger when the insurance companies eventually go bankrupt from the financial pressure such a large pool puts on their systems – the Administration is tasking states with making sure the rate increases are legitimate. In his speech to Tenneessee on the subject, President Obama said that, if state commissioners and regulators were doing their jobs correctly, they’d be able to sniff out the pure, unadulterated, scandalous corporate lies buried in the proposed rate hikes.
So, long story short, don’t blame Obama when you can’t afford the insurance you’re mandated to have, blame the state insurance regulators who aren’t doing their jobs properly. Because nothing, after all, is his fault. Though I do blame him for that SNAFU with BCBS. He owes me some cash.