State insurance commissioners, under pressure from health insurers bleeding red on the Obamacare exchanges, have begun approving rate hikes up to 62 percent, but the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quickly reassured consumers that taxpayers would pick up the tab.
With insurance premiums to be announced steadily up to the Nov. 1 open enrollment period commencement, state commissioners so far have approved hikes of 62, 43 and 23 percent, the biggest coming in Tennessee.
“Headline rate increases do not reflect what consumers actually pay,” countered HHS’s Kathryn Martin, an assistant secretary speaking to the Wall Street Journal.
An HHS analysis released the same day said that, despite premium hikes, most middle- and lower-income consumers would pay no more than $75 a month for policies purchased on the exchanges due to federal subsidies (read: taxpayer dollars).
Already, Aetna and UnitedHealth have announced major pullbacks from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces, while President Obama has proposed a public option to counter high-priced private insurance and dwindling options. In other words, more taxpayer dollars to the rescue.