More signs continue to pop up that Obamacare rate increases for next year will be significantly higher than the past two years. In Florida, there are multiple indications of increases in the double-digit range. The Palm Beach Post reports:
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.
The Post points out that last year’s 9.5% increase was judged proof the program was a success because it was less than the 13% average increase the previous year. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Services said last August when the 2016 rates were announced, “Florida’s proposed rates for the 2016 plan year demonstrate that the Affordable Care Act is working to spur competition and transparency in the marketplaces, keeping premium increases to single digits and leading to affordable new choices for consumers.” Now it seems rates will be going up sharply.
In addition, Florida Blue accidentally posted its proposed rate increases on its website Tuesday. When a reporter for the Palm Beach Post noticed them and asked the company about them the rates were taken down. A spokesman for Florida Blue told the Post, “there are some adjustments that are not reflected in those numbers that were posted online.” Does that mean the requested rates will be higher or lower? In any case here are the individual rate increases the Post reporter saw before they disappeared:
BlueOptions Individual 9.83 percent
BlueSelection Individual 11.61 percent
Those rates could go up down depending on whatever “adjustments” Florida Blue makes before they are formally submitted. In addition, the state insurance regulator will likely try to bring those average increases down.
There have been multiple stories recently pointing out reasons why this year’s rate increases will be higher, probably significantly higher, than previous years. The Obama administration likes to emphasize that most people don’t see the bulk of these increases because subsidies cover the majority of the additional cost. However, the additional cost is still being paid, albeit indirectly by taxpayers.