Lovely: Still more health insurers warning about increasing premiums

posted at 11:21 am on March 22, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Unexpectedly.

Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation’s biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans. …

UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest carrier, and other health insurers said premiums for some individuals and small businesses could rise. …

Insurers are “not being shy that premiums are going to increase in 2014,” and are urging brokers to “brace our clients,” said John Lacy, vice president of group benefits at Bouchard Insurance, a brokerage in Clearwater, Fla. His firm has been hearing from carrier representatives that individual premiums in Florida could go up 35% to 50%, on average, and small-business rates around 30%, though it hopes to find strategies to blunt the impact. …

An official with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina told a gathering of brokers last week that individual premiums could go up by as much as 40% to 50%, according to brokers who were present. A spokeswoman for the insurer said “we don’t have final numbers” yet on premiums.

Honestly, you have to wonder: Was the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress actually convinced that ObamaCare was going to be the health care system’s saving grace, rather than its undoing, or did they just say whatever they needed to say to get the dang thing passed? Who could have sincerely failed to see these market interferences and cost increases coming?

As Krauthammer put it last night, it really would’ve been better if they had dropped the charade about really trying to preserve the private health care system in the first place and been a little more intellectually honest (but then, of course, the law probably wouldn’t have passed, so, wash). I don’t want to underestimate Team Obama, because who knows what masterfully manipulative campaign strategy they’ll think up next, but this is one of the reasons I’m skeptical about their odds to defy history in 2014 and beat the six-year itch: Maybe the full effects of ObamaCare still won’t be widespread by November 2014, but if the system has started to implode by then and more people are seeing the consequences… If just the idea of ObamaCare was bad enough to inspire the 2010 Republican wave, it’s implementation could be even worse in terms of rallying public opinion. 2014 anti-ObamaCare redux?


And I think the other point that’s emerging as it begins implementation with all these regulations is that those of us who claimed early on that it was nationalizing healthcare, even though it’s disguised as still a private system, we were absolutely right. There will be hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations, obscure, arcane, written by the bureaucrats only understood by them, and also administered by them. As are the waivers. All the power is in the hand of the government now and it’s an arbitrary one. People are going to discover that it is a system run out of Washington, it is not a private system. And I would say, if you’re going to go that way go the way of the British. Do it honestly, openly and simply own it instead of this pretend private healthcare system.

BRET BAIER, HOST: Down the road, is Obamacare a major issue in the 2014 elections?

KRAUTHAMMER: Absolutely, and it’s going to hurt the Democrats.


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