Nebraska health-insurance premiums increase 21%-143% with ObamaCare
posted at 1:01 pm on August 31, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
The Lincoln Journal Star added to the annals of ‘If you like your plan you can keep your plan (Midwestern edition)” yesterday with a new report on the impact of ObamaCare on health insurance premiums in Nebraska. Thanks to the mandates in ObamaCare, most of the individual insurance plans offered in the past will no longer be available, whether consumers liked their plan or not. The replacements will be much more expensive, with cost hikes ranging from 21% increases to as much as 143%:
Nebraska Insurance Commissioner Bruce Ramge pointed out that a comparison of rates between Coventry and Blue Cross Blue Shield, the only companies of the four that offered rates in past years, showed that health insurance costs are going up for most Nebraskans.
Tom Gilsdorf, director of product development at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska countered: “An apples-to-apples comparison of 2013 health insurance costs to 2014 costs is virtually impossible,” he said. “Health insurance that will be sold to individuals, families and small businesses for 2014 is new and must cover a range of Essential Health Benefits that were not covered in the past.”
Lower-cost options are available to Nebraskans that are not shown in a one page 2013-to-2014 comparison sample posted by the department.
In the example, the cost of a Blue Cross Blue Shield “silver” plan covering 70 percent of health costs was $245 a month for a 30-year-old single man living in Lincoln, up 82 percent from a year ago, and for Coventry, $271.65, up 143 percent.
Family coverage in Hastings on a silver plan for a 50-year-old single mother with three children was almost $1,000, up 21 percent for Blue Cross Blue Shield and down 5 percent for Coventry, at $975.
This is what’s known as “cost control” by the Obama administration. In this case, they can’t blame Nebraska for tweaking the exchange to the disadvantage of consumers, because Nebraska is one of the states that refused to comply with ObamaCare and construct their own exchange. The prices in this case come from the federal exchange that HHS is creating in Nebraska in order to deal with the gap.
Nebraskans already have demonstrated a significant level of disgust with ObamaCare. Their former Senator, Ben Nelson, retired rather than face the wrath of voters for casting the 60th vote that allowed the ACA to pass into law, and he’s kept a very low profile ever since. Thanks to price hikes like these, even it few supporters in the Cornhusker State will have difficulty defending it. In Tennessee, one former advocate for ObamaCare has switched sides after seeing the price hikes (via Instapundit):
Christensen once supported Obamacare — also called the Affordable Care Act — because he likes to help people.
“I’m a left-leaning social activist,” he said Wednesday at a Chattanooga chapter meeting of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which counted U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., and State Sen. Bo Watson, R-Chattanooga, in attendance. “It sounded like a good idea to offer insurance to all the people in the country.”
Christensen was originally concerned with patients who go to the emergency room for minor ailments instead of seeking a primary care physician and felt that Obamacare would allow people to stay healthier and remove perverse incentives that clog up hospitals across the U.S.
The only problem? He didn’t realize how much it would cost him, and he’s horrified by how much it’s going to cost his employees.
“Some of those regulations about what the costs of my employees are going to be are horrendous, and I can’t understand the math,” he said. “Listening to the insurance providors and people providing webinars on how to figure out what our costs are going to be in this program, it’s gigantically troublesome to me.”
Yes, but it’s going to help people by providing them coverage. Right? Wrong:
Not only does the math make his accountant shudder, Christensen is fairly certain that his employees are going to totally lose all coverage, he said. That’s because the economical CoverTN program that he’s currently using doesn’t qualify under Obamacare’s rules, and will disappear at the end of the year. CoverTN costs employees and Christensen about $60 each per month, but Obamacare would double that, placing it out of reach for those at the low end of the pay scale.
If you like your plan … better start developing a keen sense of nostalgia.