The big question here will be whether Kathleen Sebelius herself will travel to Connecticut to smite the insurers personally, or the state government that approved rate hikes of up to 20% to cover the new mandates in ObamaCare. These rate hike requests won’t be the last, either:
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut requested a wide range of premium increases, which will take effect Oct. 1, to cover the costs of new benefits required by federal health reform. Higher prices mostly affect new members shopping for a health plan on the individual market rather than people who have group plans through an employer or some other organization.
The Connecticut Department of Insurance approved Anthem’s request without changes, including a boost of as much as 22.9 percent just to comply with one provision: eliminating annual spending limits per customer. But it’s unclear how much more customers will pay because of the variety of plans and the complexity of other factors, such as a person’s age.
New provisions mandated by federal law to start Thursday include allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, eliminating annual and lifetime limits on the amount of money an insurer spends per customer and mandating that insurers cover the full cost of preventive services, such as mammogramsand colonoscopies.
The looming question is how much those new mandated benefits, along with rising medical costs, will raise prices for health insurance next year. Insurers will submit a new batch of rate requests in October and November to take effect in 2011.
This comes as a great shock to all of those business experts on the Left that kept insisting that additional mandates meant lower costs. To the rest of us, however, who actually understand risk pools and the difference between price and costs, it’s exactly what we predicted for over a year.
Steve McGough at Radio Vice Online notes that Attorney General and Senate candidate Dick Blumenthal blasted the insurance companies without knowing any of the facts:
Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal (D) – who is running for Senate against Republican candidate Linda McMahon – did not exactly blow a gasket, but of course he thinks the rate increases are massive and unjustified. Tell me Blumenthal, did you even attend the meetings where Anthem proved their case to state regulators? Can you even speak to the actual cost increases or did you just pull page 57 out of the play book and read verbatim?
Linda McMahon should jump all over this as an example of just how misguided ObamaCare was, and how clueless its advocates still are.
Update: The post at Jim Vicevich’s blog was written by Steve, not Jim. Sorry about that!