“There’s much less competition in the government’s insurance exchange,” says KFOR’s Lorne Fultonberg, “and consumers can expect to pay for it.” How much will they pay? Blue Cross Blue Shield is hiking premiums by an average of 35% for 2016 for Oklahoma consumers over 2015’s prices after three other competitors dropped out of the market. United Healthcare, which decided to test the waters in Oklahoma, is now the only competition:
Oklahomans who buy health insurance on the federal marketplace could be in for sticker shock this year.
The Department of Health and Human Services is estimating premiums will jump 35 percent on average for the one company returning to the exchange this year: Blue Cross Blue Shield.
“Last year, Blue Cross Blue Shield didn’t charge enough in premiums and actually lost money. You have all these new people coming into the market, and a lot of them are sick and need a lot of services,” said Kelly Dexter, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Insurance Department. “For every dollar in premium they collected, they paid out $1.15, so they lost money. And, you want companies to make a reasonable profit, so they can stay in business, and you can have more competition, which is better for the consumer.”
Why did the other insurers drop out? Three guesses:
“Well, it was hard for them to make money,” Dexter said. “Global Health and Community Care originally filed the rates and said they were going to provide plans on the exchange. But, once they started crunching the numbers, they realized financially it didn’t make sense for them. So, they dropped out.”
Forced coverage and extensive mandates have made costs explode for insurers — just as critics of ObamaCare predicted, and anyone who understands the basics of risk pools should have guessed. It’s why most of the Obama administration’s co-ops have collapsed, and why the few remaining won’t last much longer either. ObamaCare creates an impossible model for insurers, especially with its insistence on mandating comprehensive coverage. Insurers have no choice but to either raise deductibles, premiums, or both to keep up with escalating costs and access. Democrats admitted that the first year or two might present these challenges but predicted that after dealing with the backlog of illnesses in years 1 and 2 that the financial issues would settle down. Clearly, that’s not the case.
In Minnesota, the premium increase notices are arriving in mailboxes this week:
Thousands of Minnesotans are being notified that their health care premiums are going up — in some cases, way up.
One WCCO viewer sent a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield saying his monthly premium was increasing by $400, making his monthly bill more than $1,100 for himself and two children.