As Insurers Struggle For Survival In The ObamaCare Marketplace, 2017 Premium Increase Notices Have Started To Pour In
- Insurers across the country have begun to roll out their 2017 premium increases, and all indicators point to higher increases than in previous years.
- Despite widespread dissatisfaction with ObamaCare, Clinton continues to tout her contribution to the ObamaCare framework.
- Washington state insurers have requested an average rate hike of 13.5 percent, with the highest increase request at 20 percent from Premera Blue Cross.
- Blue Cross in Tennessee has raised premiums 60 percent over the past two years, and has asked for additional increases higher than 36.3 percent for 2017 to offset persistent losses.
- Four insurers in Maryland have requested rate increases ranging from 8.1 percent to 29.8 percent for 2017.
- Insurers in Iowa have requested rate increases of 20, 38, and 43 percent that will impact tens of thousands of people in the state.
- About 1.7 million people in Florida who have enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges would be impacted by the average rate increase request of 17.7 percent that has been submitted by fifteen insurers in the state.
- Insurers in California are requesting an average rate increase of 8 percent.
- Tens of thousands of customers in Vermont would be impacted by Blue Cross' request for an average 8.2 percent rate increase in the state.
- Four insurers in Maine have requested double-digit rate increases for 2017, which would only be offset for individuals by government subsidies that are attempting to quell the rising costs of the health plan.
- Two insurers in Oregon have requested double-digit rate increases that range from 29.6 to 32.2 percent, which would impact close to 200,000 people that are enrolled in these plans.
- Minuteman Health in New Hampshire has requested at least a 45 percent rate increase, the highest premium rate increase thus far.
- The average rate increase request in Virginia is 17.9 percent, ranging from 9.4 to 37.1 percent among five insurers.
AS OBAMACARE BRINGS ON ANOTHER YEAR OF INSURANCE PREMIUM RATE HIKES, CLINTON CONTINUES TO CLAIM CREDIT FOR OBAMACARE POLICIES ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
"It Already Looks Clear That Many Obamacare Insurance Plans Are Going To Raise Their Prices Significantly," Many By 10 Percent Or More. "It already looks clear that many Obamacare insurance plans are going to raise their prices significantly. Over the last few years, average premium increases in the Obamacare markets have been lower than the increases for people who bought their own insurance in premiums before the Affordable Care Act. But several trends are coming together that suggest that pattern will break when plan premiums are announced in early November. Many plans may increase prices by 10 percent, or more." (Margot Sanger-Katz, "Get Ready For Higher Obamacare Rates Next Year," The New York Times, 5/6/16)
- Proposed Rate Hikes Are Starting To Come Out Now, But The Increases Won't Be Certain Until The Insurance Marketplaces Open On November 1 st. "Proposed rate hikes are just starting to dribble out, setting up a battle over health insurance costs in a tumultuous presidential election year that will decide the fate of Obamacare. And the headlines are likely to keep coming right up to Election Day since many consumers won't see actual rates until the insurance marketplaces open Nov. 1 - a week before they go to the polls." (Paul Demko, "Obamacare's November Surprise," Politico, 5/2/16)
As Rates Rise, Healthcare Costs Continue To Top U.S. Families' Financial Concerns
Healthcare Costs Top American Families' List Of Financial Concerns. "Fifteen percent of Americans cite healthcare costs as the most important financial problem facing their family. In addition to healthcare costs, Americans also point to low wages, debt, college expenses and housing costs as pressing financial concerns for their family. About one in 10 Americans say their family faces no financial problems." (Zac Auter, "Healthcare Costs Top U.S. Families' Financial Concerns," Gallup, 4/27/16)
- Gallup: 15 Percent Of Americans Say Health Care Costs Are Their Greatest Financial Concern. (Gallup News, Twitter Feed, 4/27/16)
Despite Premium Hikes Under ObamaCare, Clinton Continues To Take Credit For The Law On The Campaign Trail
Clinton: "Before It Was Called ObamaCare, It Was Called HillaryCare, As You Remember." CLINTON: "Before it was called ObamaCare, it was called HillaryCare, as you remember. I fought really hard. The insurance companies and the drug companies spent millions against me." (Hillary Clinton, CNN Democratic Presidential Town Hall, 3/4/16)
In A Recent Town Hall, Clinton Admitted That She Was Not Sure Why A Woman's Premium Had Increased By $400 Per Month. QUESTIONER: "I am a small business owner as well, very small, about eight people. I have a two year old daughter. Just to piggy back on a few of the issues, you talk about healthcare. As a small business owner, not only are you trying to provide benefits to your employees, you are trying to provide benefits to yourself. So I have seen our health insurance for our own families go up five hundred dollars a month in the last two years. We went from four hundred dollars something to nine hundred something, so we're just fighting to keep benefits for ourselves. The thought of being able to provide benefits to your employees is almost secondary, yet to keep your employees happy that's a question that comes across my desk all the time. I have to keep your employees as independent contractors, for the most part, really to avoid that situation, and so I have turnover. They go to a job where they do have benefits. You know, same thing, I get women that, you know, I'm very lucky I have a woman who's retired, which is great, so she's willing to work because she has benefits from the government. But if I can't provide benefits for, let alone for myself, I can't provide them for my family. The reason our insurance has gone up so much is that we do not qualify for a subsidy on the current health insurance plan. We unfortunately make just over too much money within that gap. So, I guess my question to you is not only are you looking out for people that can't afford healthcare, but I'm someone that can afford it, but it's taking a big chunk out of the money I bring home for myself." CLINTON: "So is the policy that you now have one you got off of the exchanges." QUESTIONER: "It was on the exchange." CLINTON: "Well what you're saying is one of the real worries that we're facing with the cost of health insurance because the costs are going up in a lot of markets. Not all, but many markets, and what you are describing is one of the real challenges because right now, like with so many of these programs, there's just a cut off instead of what I would like to see, which is a kind of gradual diminishment. Like, people shouldn't just once they get to a certain income, lose all subsidy or lose all tax benefit or whatever else we could piece together that would enable you to make this more affordable for yourself. So that's something I'm looking at. I think that the affordable care act is a big step forward for the vast majority of Americans, but we have to look at out of pocket costs, copays, deductibles, premiums, and we have to make the insurance companies justify what they are charging because a lot of them are moving costs up without really explaining, at least not to my satisfaction, why that's happening. And we need more non-profit options for people so that, you know, that was the original idea but a lot of them got started and they didn't know how to do what they wanted to do. They had great ideas, but didn't have the back up. So we need to go back and revisit that. I'm also in favor of what's called the public option so that people can buy into Medicare above a certain age, which will then take a lot of the pressure of the costs because the argument is the costs go up because real world experience means that people are getting sicker or that the costs have to be spread. I want to get behind that because I don't yet see the data to support that. But, if you were able to move people 55 or 50 and up, who are the biggest of healthcare, into the Medicare program, they would have to buy in, but they would be buying in to such a big program that the cost would be more distributed. So there's a lot of things I'm looking at to try to figure out how to deal with exactly the problem you're talking about. And there are some good ideas out there, but we have to subject them to the real world test: will this really help like a small business owner or family be able to afford it. Because four hundred dollar increase, assuming you didn't have some terrible healthcare event, which it doesn't sound like you did." QUESTIONER: "I don't go to the doctor." CLINTON: "Yeah I know, but, I mean, that's my point. What could have possibly raised your costs $400? And that's what I don't understand." (Hillary Clinton, Roundtable In Sone Ridge, Virginia, 5/9/16)
OBAMACARE 2017 RATE HIKE REQUESTS ARE STARTING TO ROLL IN FOR EACH STATE, WITH MANY INSURERS ASKING FOR DOUBLE-DIGIT INCREASES
In Washington, Insurers Have Requested Rate Increases Up To 20 Percent
Health Insurers In Washington Have Requested Premium Rate Increases Averaging 13.5 Percent For 2017. "Health insurers in Washington are requesting a sharp jump in rates for individual plans next year - up 13.5 percent, on average - and fewer options will be offered through the state-run insurance exchange, officials announced Monday." (JoNel Alecia, "Rate Requests Way Up For 2017 Individual Health-Care Plans," The Seattle Times, 5/16/16)
- These Requested Rate Increases Range From 7.4 Percent For Coordinated Care To 20 Percent For Premera Blue Cross. "The firms have requested rate increases ranging from a 7.4 percent jump for Coordinated Care to a 20 percent boost for Premera Blue Cross, with an average increase of 13.5 percent based on enrollment, according to figures released by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner." (JoNel Alecia, "Rate Requests Way Up For 2017 Individual Health-Care Plans," The Seattle Times, 5/16/16)
In Tennessee, Blue Cross Has Requested A Rate Increase Higher Than 36.3 Percent
BlueCross Will Ask For Additional Rate Increases Higher Than 36.3 Percent To Cut Future Losses. "Despite the ongoing losses, BlueCross officials say they remain committed to participating in the marketplace exchange plans offered for individuals without access to other health insurance under Obamacare. But to cut future losses, the Chattanooga-based insurer may ask state regulators for additional rate increases next year even higher than the 36.3 percent implemented in January on its marketplace plans." (Dave Flessner, "BlueCross Plans Major Rate Increase As Obamacare Proves Costly," Chattanooga Times Free Press , 5/15/16)
Even After Raising Average Premiums By More Than 60 Percent Over Two Years, BlueCross BlueShield Of Tennessee Lost $311 Million On Obamacare Plans So Far. "In the first two years of offering the new plans under the Affordable Care Act, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee lost $311 million on such plans. The insurer says it is continuing to lose money again this year from Obamacare even after raising average premiums in the program by more than 60 percent over the past two years." (Dave Flessner, "BlueCross Plans Major Rate Increase As Obamacare Proves Costly," Chattanooga Times Free Press , 5/15/16)
In Maryland, Insurers Have Requested Rate Increases As High As 29.8 Percent
"CareFirst Has Asked The Maryland Insurance Commission For A 12.4 Percent Increase On Its HMO Plan And A 16 Percent Increase For Two Other Plans It Offers." "For next year, CareFirst has asked the Maryland Insurance Commission for a 12.4 percent increase on its HMO plan and a 16 percent increase for two other plans it offers. The insurer said it had no comment on its requests for increases." (Andrea K. McDaniels And Meredith Cohn, "Health Insurers Seek Rate Increases In Maryland As United Healthcare Quits Market," The Baltimore Sun, 5/13/16)
"Cigna Health And Life Insurance Co. Requested A 29.8 Percent Increase, Evergreen Health Cooperative An 8.1 Percent Increase And Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Of The Mid-Atlantic States A 25 Percent Increase." "The insurance commission also will consider rate increases that other insurers requested for individual plans. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co. requested a 29.8 percent increase, Evergreen Health Cooperative an 8.1 percent increase and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States a 25 percent increase." (Andrea K. McDaniels And Meredith Cohn, "Health Insurers Seek Rate Increases In Maryland As United Healthcare Quits Market," The Baltimore Sun, 5/13/16)
"The Insurers Also Requested Rate Increases For Plans In The Small-Business Market That Ranged From 0.1 Percent To 7.4 Percent." (Andrea K. McDaniels And Meredith Cohn, "Health Insurers Seek Rate Increases In Maryland As United Healthcare Quits Market," The Baltimore Sun, 5/13/16)
In Iowa, Insurers Have Requested Rate Hikes As High As 43 Percent
Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield Is Planning To Raise Premiums On 30,000 Individual Plans By 38 To 43 Percent In Iowa Next Year. "Tens of thousands of Iowans who buy their own health insurance are about to receive a shock in the mail. Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield is sending letters this week telling about 30,000 customers it plans to raise their premiums by 38 percent to 43 percent next year." (Tony Leys, "Wellmark Plans 38% To 43% Increases For Some Customers," The Des Moines Register , 5/12/16)
Medica Is Asking For A 20 Percent Increase On An Unknown Number Of Individual Plans In Iowa. "Medica, a much smaller health insurance carrier, is seeking an increase of nearly 20 percent on individual policies in Iowa. A spokesman declined to say how many Iowans would be affected." (Tony Leys, "Wellmark Plans 38% To 43% Increases For Some Customers," The Des Moines Register , 5/12/16)
In Florida, Insurers Have Requested An Average Rate Increase Of 17.7 Percent
In Florida, The Average Increase In Premiums For Obamacare Individual Plans Is 17.7 Percent For Fifteen Health Insurers. "Fifteen health insurers want an average 17.7 percent increase in premiums for Affordable Care Act individual plans, Florida officials said Thursday - higher than last year's approved average of less than 10 percent." (Charles Elmore, "Obamacare: Fla. Insurers Seek Average 17.7% Hike Amid Court Ruling," Palm Beach Post, 5/12/16)
- About 1.7 Million Floridians Selected Obamacare Marketplace Plans In 2016, And Would Be Impacted By These Premium Increases. "Most Floridians still get coverage from employer plans or government programs such as Medicare, but approximately 1. 7 million state residents selected Obamacare marketplace plans in 2016." (Charles Elmore, "Obamacare: Fla. Insurers Seek Average 17.7% Hike Amid Court Ruling," Palm Beach Post, 5/12/16)
Fifteen Florida Companies Are Also Asking For An Average 9.6 Percent Premium Increase For Small Group Plans. "In Florida, 15 companies also asked for an average 9.6 percent increase for small group plans, said Amy Bogner, spokeswoman for the state's Office of Insurance Regulation." (Charles Elmore, "Obamacare: Fla. Insurers Seek Average 17.7% Hike Amid Court Ruling," Palm Beach Post, 5/12/16)
In California, Health Insurance Exchange Estimates An Average Rate Increase Of 8 Percent
"California's Health Insurance Exchange Estimates That Its Obamacare Premiums May Rise 8 Percent On Average Next Year." "California's health insurance exchange estimates that its Obamacare premiums may rise 8% on average next year, which would end two consecutive years of more modest 4% increases." (Chad Therhune, "Obamacare Premiums In California May Rise 8% Next Year," CNN, 5/12/16)
- California's Rollout Of The Health Law Has Been Closely Monitored As An Indicator Of Nationwide Trends. "Any increases in California, a closely watched state in the health law rollout, are sure to draw intense scrutiny during a presidential election." (Chad Therhune, "Obamacare Premiums In California May Rise 8% Next Year," CNN, 5/12/16)
In Vermont, Insurers Have Requested Rate Hikes As High As 8.8 Percent
In Vermont, "Blue Cross Is Asking For An Average 8.2 Percent Increase While MVP Wants An 8.8 Percent Hike." "Blue Cross is asking for an average 8.2 percent increase, while MVP wants an 8.8 percent hike." (Stewart Ledbetter, "Vermont Health Insurance Companies Seek 8 Percent Rate Hike," WPTZ, 5/12/16)
- This Increase Would Impact "Tens Of Thousands Of Customers." "Blue Cross-Blue Shield and MVP filed their requests with the Green Mountain Care Board this week to raise premiums starting in January for policies sold on the state's health exchange, affecting tens of thousands of customers." (Stewart Ledbetter, "Vermont Health Insurance Companies Seek 8 Percent Rate Hike," WPTZ, 5/12/16)
In Maine, Four Insurers Have Requested Double Digit Rate Hikes
In Maine, "Community Health Options Is Requesting A 22.8 Percent Increase, Harvard Pilgrim Is Requesting 18.7 Percent, Aetna Is Seeking 14.2 Percent And Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Is Requesting 14.1 Percent." "According to the rate filings proposed for 2017 individual plan coverage, Community Health Options is requesting a 22.8 percent increase, Harvard Pilgrim is requesting 18.7 percent, Aetna is seeking 14.2 percent and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is requesting 14.1 percent. The rate increases are not final and are subject to review by the Bureau of Insurance and the federal government. Next year will be the first year that Aetna will offer marketplace coverage in Maine." (Joe Lawlor, "Maine Insurers Request Double-Digit Increases For Government Health Plans," Portland Press Herald, 5/11/16)
- Due To Government Subsidies, These Premium Increases Will Be Offset For 90 Percent Of The 84,000 In Maine Who Have Obamacare Coverage. "Because of the way the Affordable Care Act is structured, those who receive subsidies - about 90 percent of the 84,000 in Maine who have marketplace insurance - will see zero or minimal premium increases in 2017." (Joe Lawlor, "Maine Insurers Request Double-Digit Increases For Government Health Plans," Portland Press Herald , 5/11/16)
In Oregon, Insurers Have Requested Rate Hikes As High As 32.2 Percent
"Oregon's Largest Individual Market Insurer Has Filed For An Average 29.6 Percent Rate Hike For 2017 Policies Sold On And Off The Obamacare Exchange." (Jed Graham, "Oregon Insurers Want 27% ObamaCare Rate Hike As Bad News Piles Up," Investor's Business Daily , 5/4/16)
- Providence Health Covers 100,900 People In Oregon. "Providence Health, which saw enrollment nearly quadruple in 2016 to 100,900, grabbing 40% of the market, blamed the increase partly on next year's phase-out of ObamaCare's temporary reinsurance program, which covers some of the bills of the costliest patients." (Jed Graham, "Oregon Insurers Want 27% ObamaCare Rate Hike As Bad News Piles Up," Investor's Business Daily , 5/4/16)
Moda Health "Has Proposed A 32.2 Percent Premium Hike For Its 62,600 Customers" In Oregon. "Moda Health, Oregon's second-biggest individual market carrier even after losing one-third of its customers following a big premium hike this year, has proposed a 32.3% premium hike for its 62,600 customers." (Jed Graham, "Oregon Insurers Want 27% ObamaCare Rate Hike As Bad News Piles Up," Investor's Business Daily , 5/4/16)
In New Hampshire, Minuteman Health Requested A Rate Hike Of More Than 45 Percent
Minuteman Health, One Of New Hampshire's Largest Insurers, Announced It Was Seeking A Rate Hike Of Over 45 Percent . "Minuteman Health, one of the larger insurers in New Hampshire that offer coverage to individuals under the Affordable Care Act, announced Monday that it could raise its rates by more than 45 percent in 2017." (Bob Sanders, "Minuteman Health Seeks Up To 45% NH Rate Hike For 2017," New Hampshire Business Review, 4/18/16)
- Minuteman's Rates Would Jump From An Average Of $279.70 To $397.39 Per Month. "Minuteman's Rates, A Monthly Average Of $273.70 In 2016, Would Jump Up To $397.39 For Individuals Next Year Under The Preliminary Filing." (Bob Sanders, "Minuteman Health Seeks Up To 45% NH Rate Hike For 2017," New Hampshire Business Review, 4/18/16)
In Virginia, Insurers Have Requested Rate Hikes As High As 37.1 Percent For 2017
"The Average Weighted Premium-Hike Request Appears To Be 17.9 Percent" For 2017. "Overall, the average weighted premium-hike request appears to be 17.9%, says Charles Gaba of ACASignups." (Jed Grahm, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% ObamaCare Premium Hike," Investors, 3/13/16)
- Anthem Has Requested A 15.8 Percent Rate Hike For Its Virginia Obamacare Enrollees In 2017. "Anthem (ANTM) HealthKeepers, one of the biggest players in the state's individual market, is seeking an average 15.8% rate hike for a projected 190,000 members, both on and off the exchange." (Jed Grahm, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% ObamaCare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 3/13/16)
- Aetna Has Requested An Increase Of 16.6 Percent For 2017. "Innovation Health, a partnership in Virginia 50% owned by Aetna (AET), is seeking a 16.6% rate increase for 61,000 members." (Jed Grahm, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% ObamaCare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 3/13/16)
- United Health Requested A Premium Hike Of 9.4 Percent. "UnitedHealth (UNH), which has dropped out of Arkansas and Georgia, is at least keeping its options open in Virginia. It submitted a filing requesting a 9.4% rate increase for its 6,900 members, according to ObamaCare enrollment tracker ACASignups.net." (Jed Grahm, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% ObamaCare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 3/13/16)
- "Carefirst BlueChoice And Optima Health, Are Seeking Rate Increases In Excess Of 30 Percent." "Consumers may be able to switch to cheaper plans, which might also hold down their premium increases. But all of the carriers except for UnitedHealth appear to be seeking double-digit increases in Virginia. A couple of carriers with a combined 40,000 customers, CareFirst BlueChoice and Optima Health, are seeking rate increases in excess of 30%." (Jed Grahm, "Virginia Insurers Seek 18% ObamaCare Premium Hike," Investor's Business Daily, 3/13/16)
- Optima Is Seeking A Rate Hike Of 37.1 Percent For 2017. "United Healthcare, Aetna and Optima forecast prescription price increases of 10 percent this year and a similar amount in 2017. They're seeking average rate increases of 9.4 percent, 13 percent and 37.1 percent, respectively." (Dave Ress, "Virginia Health Insurers Seek Double-Digit Premium Increases,"Investor's Business Daily, 4/15/16)
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