NY Times: Obamacare Looking For Big Rate Increases For 2016

Those darned ultra-conservative Ocare haters at the ultra-rightwingnut NY Times

Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016

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.

Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, said: “Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here. Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”

The hell you say! Of course, these are just the premiums. Will deductibles, already generally unaffordable, stay the same?

It is far from certain how many of the rate increases will hold up on review, or how much they might change. But already the proposals, buttressed with reams of actuarial data, are fueling fierce debate about the effectiveness of the health law.

That’s because there tends to be pools of sicker and older people signing up, and, it’s great that they have insurance. Someone has to pay for it, though. Instead of putting together a package that would actually address methods that would actually make the plans affordable and stable, we got Ocare.

“Our enrollees generated 24 percent more claims than we thought they would when we set our 2014 rates,” said Nathan T. Johns, the chief financial officer of Arches Health Plan, which covers about one-fourth of the people who bought insurance through the federal exchange in Utah. As a result, the company said, it collected premiums of $39.7 million and had claims of $56.3 million in 2014. It has requested rate increases averaging 45 percent for 2016.

Many companies are finding out that they aren’t just spending the required 80%, but 100% or more. Of course, don’t feel too bad for the companies, who were cheerleaders for the law.

The law is so complicated, and structurally deficient, that it may well collapse under its own weight. Which will lead to calls for a simpler law that actually addresses ways to cover citizens at an affordable rate single payer. Because that’s the ultimate goal: a health system run by and controlled by the Federal government.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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