The state of Connecticut just approved a request by its largest private insurer for premium hikes of up to 47%. Wasn’t ObamaCare supposed to put an end to these kinds of price increases, with Barack Obama’s promise to “bend the cost curve downward”? Actually, as the Hartford Courant reports, the increases come as a direct result of the mandates included in ObamaCare:
The state’s largest insurer has been approved to raise health premium rates by 41 percent to 47 percent for some of its policies sold to individual buyers, in the largest price hikes yet seen in Connecticut since the adoption of national health care reform.
For all of its individual market plans, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has received approval to raise rates by at least 19 percent — including a range of 30 percent to 44 percent for the brand of plans in the individual market that was most popular in 2009, Century Preferred.
The reason for the increases is the new federal health reform mandates, according to Anthem and the state Department of Insurance, which is defending its approval against charges by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Those reforms took effect Sept. 23.
Anthem’s spokesperson attributed the costs directly to new benefits required by the mandates in ObamaCare:
“Our [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] compliant individual products include expanded benefits such as elimination of lifetime dollar maximums, no cost share for preventive coverage, and extension of dependent coverage to age 26. With this enhanced coverage, pricing levels have also been adjusted to make sure that the cost of claims incurred is offset by the premiums collected, and that we anticipate the cost of future, expected claims. Low cost low benefit plans experienced a higher rate adjustment because with the health care reform provisions the plans now offer richer benefits. Other plans that already offered rich benefits did not experience as much of an adjustment.”
In other words, risk went up, and so did premiums. This is a natural and predictable consequence of added benefits, must-issue regulation, and the elimination of lifetime caps on payouts. In fact, it isn’t even an academic prediction, since the exact same sequence occurred in states such as Massachusetts and Maine that imposed similar mandates on its insurers in the last few years.
Jim Vicevich isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry:
If this were no so serious and so stupid at the same time … it would be laughable. …
Ironically even Obama now seems to understand these kind of rate increases will become the norm. Not even Richard “jobs” Blumenthal could expect insurance companies to keep rates the same when the Obama is demanding that they accept any child after they get sick, or allow 26 year old “children” to stay on parents’ policies. This is gunna get worse folks, made even more outrageous by the fact that they pushed this crap down our throats.
Well, Obama’s been busy getting an education at public expense, hasn’t he? We know what the economic consequences of mandates and broader regulation are. The political consequences will depend on who’s in charge. Either Congress will roll back ObamaCare and replace it with a reform that attacks the true cause of escalating health-care costs — the third-party payer structure that is a relic of World War II wage freezes — or the Obama administration will push for price freezes that will utterly destroy the private insurance market.
That’s what makes this election so important, and why conservatives have to ensure that Democrats do not retain control of the agenda in the 112th Session of Congress. We won’t be laughing if they keep enough of a grip on power to create the final act of nationalization of health care.