Insurers signaling major ObamaCare premium hikes for 2017 -- or taking a hike altogether

Remember how the last big increases in ObamaCare premiums took place last fall? Good times, good times. The Hill reports that insurers have begun warning that the financial model of ObamaCare remains unstable. Either they need to get approval from state regulators for another round of large premium increases, or they may bail out altogether. Even the pro-ObamaCare Kaiser Family Foundation says, “Something has to give”:

Health insurance companies are amplifying their warnings about the financial sustainability of the ObamaCare marketplaces as they seek approval for premium increases next year.

Insurers say they are losing money on their ObamaCare plans at a rapid rate, and some have begun to talk about dropping out of the marketplaces altogether.

“Something has to give,” said Larry Levitt, an expert on the health law at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums.”

This point from Levitt on the unlikelihood of a death spiral should have eyes popping:

“What we’re likely to see is more of a market correction than any kind of death spiral,” Levitt said. “There are enough people enrolled at this point that the market is sustainable. The premiums were just too low.”

Premiums were too low? Gee, that wasn’t what Barack Obama and Democrats claimed when they demanded government control over this marketplace to “bend the cost curve downward.” At the time, they claimed that they would save an average family of four $2500 a year in premium prices. Now, after three successive years of dramatic premium hikes — and let’s not forget astronomical increases in deductible thresholds — premiums are still “just too low.”

Why is that? It turns out that younger and healthier people aren’t enthused about spending thousands of dollars a year on a product they’ll mostly never use and can only access after spending thousands more to clear the deductible threshold. HHS brags about the 12.7 million enrollments in the system, but that’s a far cry below the supposed 40 million uninsured that ObamaCare was supposed to cure. The people who have signed up tend to be those who utilize health-care services more often, and the utilization curve has not smoothed out as the ACA’s designers assumed it would.

Now we have come full circle from You’re paying too much to Your premiums were just too low. Get ready for Who needs insurance, anyway? The government will handle your health care!

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