Though proposed health insurance premium increases are subject to state and federal review, the third year of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) looks to be one in which insurers seek to recoup the money needed to cover the newly enrolled sick and elderly.
In a survey of public filings by health insurers, the Wall Street Journal in today’s edition cites several examples: Health Care Service Corp. in New Mexico is seeking an average increase of 51.6 percent; Blue-Cross BlueShield of Tennessee (the state’s largest insurer) wants an average of 36.3%; and Moda Health in Oregon is eying a jump of 25 percent on average.
Some insurers are seeking smaller, but still much higher than inflation, increases: Anthem Inc. in Virginia wants an average increase of 13.2 percent. BlueCare in Michigan just 10 percent. Only in Maine did the market leader indicated it would keep rates flat.
Most health insurance providers cite the added cost of caring for the newly enrolled sick and elderly as fueling the request for rate hikes.
Some states have the power to order rollbacks on announced increases, and while the federal government under the ACA has the right to review proposed hikes, it has no power to change them.
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