Health insurance premiums for NC college students rise 51% under ObamaCare

posted at 1:21 pm on September 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama and his campaign hoped to make ObamaCare their pitch to get younger voters more enthused about the election this year — a perverse but not forlorn hope, as I’ll explain in a minute.  That may be even more true in North Carolina, where Democrats are holding their convention this week, and where Obama needs to generate the visible and noticeable excitement among college-age voters that was so apparent in 2008 and has been lacking in 2012.  Peter Hamby at CNN reports why that may be a bigger problem for North Carolina college students in particular, as the costs of their mandated health insurance went up more than half after ObamaCare’s passage:

But as the president fights to keep the conservative-leaning state in his column this November, education officials here are complicating his campaign message by citing “Obamacare” as a reason for the rising cost of student health insurance plans on campuses from Asheville to Wilmington.

In April, Tom Ross, the president of the University of North Carolina system, sent a letter to the university’s board of governors announcing that students should brace for a hike in the cost of university-provided insurance plans.

Ross explained that at least 64,000 North Carolina college students – roughly a third of those enrolled in the state’s 17 public universities – should expect to see “substantial” increases in health coverage costs for the 2012-2013 academic year.

“Based on more than three semesters of actual claims experience, as well as the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act, we are facing large increases in premiums for our students,” Ross wrote in the letter.

The price per semester last year was $460.  This year it will go up to $709.  In part, this was caused by the claims experience of Chartis over the last couple of years, which discovered that students on this plan accessed care more often than they initially predicted.  A significant part of the increase, however, comes from the requirements of comprehensive insurance coverage that will exacerbate those trends rather than limit cost increases.

That has been the issue for college insurance plans all around the country, not just in North Carolina.  Two years ago, universities and colleges tried to get a blanket waiver from those coverage requirements, and suggested that they may have to dump coverage options altogether without those waivers:

Colleges and universities say that some rules in the new health law could keep them from offering low-cost, limited-benefit student insurance policies, and they’re seeking federal authority to continue offering them.

Their request drew immediate fire from critics, however, who say that student health plans should be held to the same standards that other insurance is.

Among other things, the colleges want clarification that they won’t have to offer the policies to non-students.

Without a number of changes, it may be impossible to continue to offer student health plans, says a letter that the American Council on Education sent Aug. 12 to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, signed by 12 other trade associations that represent colleges.

Additionally, the colleges say that some provisions of the law don’t apply to their policies, including those that require insurers to spend at least 80 percent of their revenue on medical care and that bar them from setting annual coverage caps.

Students might have cheered the efforts of the Obama administration to force colleges to provide more comprehensive coverage, but they won’t be cheering when they open the bill for those services.  Most young adults won’t ever use $1400 of medical services in a year, let alone more than that.  A routine wellness physical costs around 10-15% of that figure.  They would be better off with a low-cost policy for hospitalization and paying for everything else out of pocket.  The high cost of comprehensive policies for this demographic only serves to subsidize the cost of older clients so that they don’t get charged as much for the comprehensive policies that make more sense for them.

That’s why an ObamaCare strategy is a perverse effort to woo young adults.  If students wanted a comprehensive-policy option, they could have gotten it without ObamaCare, and now students no longer have the more sensible low-cost option thanks to ObamaCare’s mandate.  The only reason this strategy isn’t a forlorn hope is that college students haven’t realized so far just how badly ObamaCare exploits them to lower costs for the more politically reliable 40-54YO demographic, who really benefit most by forcing younger people to pay higher premiums.  They may begin to understand it, though, as those health-insurance bills get delivered this month.


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I asked before, and all i got was snark. What is health insurance?

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM

It’s exactly like buying milk, apparently.

Chuck Schick on September 5, 2012 at 2:46 PM

And yet the idiots will vote for the big-earred messiah because he’ll provide them with free contraceptives and approval of their guilt-free abortions as contraception when the contraception fails.

Don L on September 5, 2012 at 2:46 PM

“Based on more than three semesters of actual claims experience, as well as the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act, we are facing large increases in premiums for our students,” Ross wrote in the letter.

 
And ~50% of the population (more of the college students) will still believe Obama hasn’t raised taxes on people making less than $250K.

rogerb on September 5, 2012 at 2:47 PM

These students should look on the bright side. At least some of that extra money is going to pay for “Julia’s” contraceptives.

edshepp on September 5, 2012 at 2:47 PM

I sell you a bottle of milk. It costs you $2.50. If you don’t drink the milk, it costs you $2.50. If you drink the milk, the next bottle costs you $3.00.
That would be crazy, right?

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Obamacare now forces you to buy the milk.

Chuck Schick on September 5, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Being a slave is expensive these days.

lorien1973 on September 5, 2012 at 1:27 PM

With only seven words, you’ve encapsulated the entire election issues.
What genius!

Don L on September 5, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Same thing with Gas prices…High will always be the norm.

tomas on September 5, 2012 at 2:49 PM

You wanted to be owned by the government, kiddies.

This is what it feels like.

Enjoy.

AZCoyote on September 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM

This is getting exhausting.

When did conservatives become so accepting of the health insurance market? Or so accepting of the lack of competition.

Conservatism is 2012 is a very lazy, intellectually inept movement. Then again, you did elect Mitt Romney. You reap what you sow.

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

I asked before, and all i got was snark. What is health insurance?

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Answer how single payer won’t be affected by this exact same phenomenon and I’ll answer your question. And calling me a tinfoil hat wearer for pointing out that the two ways for single payer to control costs isn’t an answer.

With single payer, when costs start to get too high there are two ways for the government to react. They are: restrict access or increase taxes. Which do you think politicians will go for first? And, I guess you think they won’t restrict access. How will they handle that?

strictnein on September 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM

When did conservatives become so accepting of the health insurance market? Or so accepting of the lack of competition.

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

LOL – I’m done with you. What a clown. Yeah… it’s conservatives that are against interstate health insurance competition. I’m not going to play wack-a-troll with you anymore.

strictnein on September 5, 2012 at 3:00 PM

In addition to increasing the cost of health insurance, ObamaCare is also going to increase the cost of college tuition.

Parents and students facing sky-high state-run college tuitions aren’t likely to be thinking about ObamaCare. But perhaps they should, since if left in place ObamaCare will likely end up making college still more expensive.

Why? Because ObamaCare relies heavily on Medicaid — the federal/state program that provides health insurance for the poor — to expand coverage.

But Medicaid is already swallowing up state budgets, forcing states to cut back on everything else, especially support for two- and four-year public colleges.

“The two biggest items of every state budget are Medicaid and education,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told IBD recently. “As the Medicaid mandate rises, the educational funding declines. That is passed on to universities and they raise tuition in order to make up for it.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/college-expensive-now-wait-until-120500422.html

This is what happens when we elect a President who knows nothing about Economics.

Vote very carefully in November, young people!

wren on September 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

This is getting exhausting.

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Being ignorant can be exhausting.

When did conservatives become so accepting of the health insurance market?

Why would a conservative have a problem with insurance markets in general?

Or so accepting of the lack of competition.

Yeah, nobody around here ever says things like remove the restrictions on interstate competition for health insurance, or eliminate government mandated coverage. I would roll my eyes, but this requires such a huge eye roll I might flip over.

NotCoach on September 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Conservatism is 2012 is a very lazy, intellectually inept movement. Then again, you did elect Mitt Romney. You reap what you sow.

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

You clearly don’t have the first clue the difference between buying a good vs buying insurance. Name calling suits you much better.

Chuck Schick on September 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM

I asked before, and all i got was snark. What is health insurance?

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM

It was explained to you on the first page in pretty clear language. See my last post on the first page, it appears that you either really don’t care to know, know already and are just spouting leftist talking points, or your 8 year old is using your account making you look like a damfool (and exceeding at that quite well by the way).

AZfederalist on September 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

This is getting exhausting.

segasagez on September 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

You should realize how we feel. This is worse than trying to explain something to a three year old. You have had this explained very clearly multiple times and in multiple ways. You are troll, you are not a very intelligent troll, you are no longer an entertaining troll.

AZfederalist on September 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM

People please stop arguing with someone that thinks 1+1=POTATO. You are not going to make any difference to such a person’s thinking.

jukin3 on September 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Most young adults won’t ever use $1400 of medical services in a year, let alone more than that.

How many “young adults” actually pay their own insurance? Oh yeah, either their loans, or their parents will pay the bills. & they still won’t be any wiser.

After they graduate, that’s a different story? But they will have already have voted for the “Don’t worry, free health insurance for all” President again.

Danny on September 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Wow, completely unexpected.

jake49 on September 5, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Damn I love my new free health care!

Thank you Pelosi Reid and Obama!

tom daschle concerned on September 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

but they won’t be cheering care when they their parents open the bill for those services.

They may begin to understand it, though, as those health-insurance bills get delivered this month when they turn 27 and are no longer on mom and dad’s policy.

Let’s not get it twisted. We know how this works out for the vast majority of college students.

ButterflyDragon on September 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Most young adults won’t ever use $1400 of medical services in a year, let alone more than that.

Not so fast – the cost of getting patched up after falling out of a dorm window or staggering into the street and getting hit by a car can be substantial.

Prop Gun on September 5, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Once the majority of American people figure out what crooks these guys are, they’ll be off the radar and immune from prosecution…some will probably be set up overseas somewhere.

Simply amazing.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Health insurance premiums for NC college students rise 51% under ObamaCare

Good. They voted for the POS.

Resist We Much on September 5, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Once the majority of American people figure out what crooks these guys are, they’ll be off the radar and immune from prosecution…some will probably be set up overseas somewhere.

Simply amazing.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Who are the crooks?

NotCoach on September 5, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Hey, that is only a $498 per year increase, less that $500 for all the free condoms you need? A bargain, right?? No, huh?

KenInIL on September 5, 2012 at 4:53 PM

I know it’s a fact, and by definition unimportant if it deviates from the accepted doctrine, but the linked report, not Ed, indicate the portion of the increase attributable to Obamacare is 12% -$41.88.

plewis on September 5, 2012 at 4:54 PM

I know it’s a fact, and by definition unimportant if it deviates from the accepted doctrine, but the linked report, not Ed, indicate the portion of the increase attributable to Obamacare is 12% -$41.88.

plewis on September 5, 2012 at 4:54 PM

It is even more freer than Ed reported?

WOOOOOOOHHOOOOOOOO O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma O ba ma

tom daschle concerned on September 5, 2012 at 4:57 PM

I know it’s a fact, and by definition unimportant if it deviates from the accepted doctrine, but the linked report, not Ed, indicate the portion of the increase attributable to Obamacare is 12% -$41.88.

plewis on September 5, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Good lord.

Family insurance premiums rose 9% in 2011, the first full year after ObamaCare passed. In 2010 it was 3%. So it’s clearly accelerating under ObamaCare.

Wasn’t ObamaCare supposed to LOWER costs?

Chuck Schick on September 5, 2012 at 5:11 PM

I know it’s a fact, and by definition unimportant if it deviates from the accepted doctrine, but the linked report, not Ed, indicate the portion of the increase attributable to Obamacare is 12% -$41.88.

plewis on September 5, 2012 at 4:54 PM

You do realize that any increase in cost is a breach of the claim made by the Obamunists that Obamacare was going to bring health care costs down, right? Only 12% increase attributable to Obamacare? If it’s a number greater than zero, that’s a fail. I’m sure you would see a 12% decrease in your wages as trivial, right?

AZfederalist on September 5, 2012 at 5:17 PM

plewis – I will check out the link. But it is wrong, I have spoken with colleges, this is Ocare in spades – and they are looking to drop the coverage.

Zomcon JEM on September 5, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Here is the quote:

Obamacare regulations requiring enhancements in prescription drug coverage and preventive care account for 12% of the insurance cost increase on campuses here, UNC officials estimate.

This isn’t real clear if it means that is all that is attributed to Obamacare or just these two provisions.

In reality – the cost drivers are that most college policies have historically not covered much of everything – they were major medical catastrophic insurance with a few bells and whistles thrown in. Now, they must provide certain levels of coverage that were never contemplated before – not just screenings and drugs (which youth don’t ever use). In all my experience I have never seen a large group insured policy have experience drive an almost 100% increase in cost. There surely is some medical price and utilization creep year over year. Happens all the time.

But that wouldn’t account for more than 12-20% on a barebones policy. Closer to 12 than 20.

Zomcon JEM on September 5, 2012 at 5:46 PM

I should emphasize – youth do use these services, just quite rarely compared to the rest of the population. My failure to a qualifier – sorry.

Zomcon JEM on September 5, 2012 at 5:48 PM

I’ve already decided that IF BHO is reelected, I’m done with politics and trying to convince people they are fools. You see, my work will be done.

I’m getting up in years and praise God that I was lucky enough to have lived in the United States of America for the many years I have. It’s disappearing and I’ve been fighting for the last 5 years for my kids and my grandchildren. However, one of my kids (who just had my first grandchild) is liberal and sees the world totally differently than I do. She wants love, peace and tree hugging without understanding that these things come with a price. The price being that one really has to fight for peace or someone will take it away. One must love in order to be loved. Saving trees (and all things “green”) means that without balance, the luxuries we enjoy will disappear. God gave us this earth to use (use with a balance, yes, but use and provide for our comfort).

Anyway, my time on earth is narrowing; I’ve lived many more years than I have left to live. I’ve enjoyed all the things I’ve tried to fight to ensure for my children and grandchildren. But hey, since some of them have decided they know better – let them have at it. There will come a day when they will understand what we conservatives were fighting for. It will probably be too late to turn it around, but at least they will understand what they brought on themselves.

katablog.com on September 5, 2012 at 8:38 PM

I’m surprised. Having read some of the bill, I thought premiums would go up a lot more, because of all the things a minimum policy must cover. But heck, it’s early yet and hasn’t completely kicked in. Next year, they could double.

talkingpoints on September 5, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Zomcon JEM on September 5, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Ah yes. But once youth have to PAY for these services through the nose, they will indeed feel entitled and use the services even more. Every cold, every sniffle, every scrap and off to the doctor’s office they will go.

Then the next problem with ObamaCare rears its ugly head – not nearly enough doctors to meet the demand. Since abortions are now “free”, why bother to take those pesky little pills that sometimes cause weight gain, headaches and other side affects? I PAID for doctors’ visits so why the heck not go and see if he can do something about this cold or remove the tattoo I got one drunken night? Gee, perhaps he even has something for hangovers!

katablog.com on September 5, 2012 at 8:43 PM

And yet the idiots will vote for the big-earred messiah because he’ll provide them with free contraceptives and approval of their guilt-free abortions as contraception when the contraception fails.

Don L on September 5, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Well most of them will be covered under mommies and daddies insurance anyways. So the biggest voting block will not feel the pain anyways. This is why they vote for liberals.

Once the real world hits them though… then they tend to open their eyes… usually after the damage is done.

watertown on September 5, 2012 at 8:51 PM

I know it’s a fact, and by definition unimportant if it deviates from the accepted doctrine, but the linked report, not Ed, indicate the portion of the increase attributable to Obamacare is 12% -$41.88.

plewis on September 5, 2012 at 4:54 PM

12% here and 12% there… no big deal right. I thought in order to get this junk passed, they promised the supporters that the cost would go the other way… down. Of course its like a slimy retailer who marks up the price 100% then gives you a discount of 25% and tell you its a good deal.

12% is on the low end for a majority of people, ours at work went up 55% in the last 2 years and the coverage sure as heck did not get better…

watertown on September 5, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Well most of them will be covered under mommies and daddies insurance anyways. So the biggest voting block will not feel the pain anyways. This is why they vote for liberals.

Once the real world hits them though… then they tend to open their eyes… usually after the damage is done.

watertown on September 5, 2012 at 8:51 PM

That is the only way stupid and ignorant people can learn. They MUST feel pain. At this point, I want them to feel pain. Maybe it will wake them up, maybe I can just enjoy the schadenfreude.

tom daschle concerned on September 5, 2012 at 9:41 PM

They would be better off with a low-cost policy for hospitalization and paying for everything else out of pocket.

That’s what my parents had years ago when my father was in grad school, and they were able to afford for my mother to stay home, and have two babies. All well-care was out of pocket, and it was affordable.

If the feds really wanted to make health care affordable, they would cut the paper work regulations, gut JCAHO, stop pushing unfunded mandates such as “meaningful use” for EHRs, and stop requiring doctors to prove that all their patients are complaint with often unproven care guidelines to get their insurance reimbursement.

LibraryGryffon on September 6, 2012 at 7:51 AM

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