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Obamacare Premiums Set to Jump 13.2 Percent in This State

Obamacare Premiums Set to Jump 13.2 Percent in This State

Monthly premiums in California's health insurance exchange will increase by more than 13 percent on average next year after two major insurers requested large rate increases, officials said Tuesday.

The 13.2 percent average hike for Covered California this year comes after Sacramento Democrats had been claiming that the 4 percent hike in 2016 and 4.2 percent in 2015 in California had proved that Obamacare's nationalization of 17 percent of the US economy was the best way to keep medical costs affordable.

"This increase is a little higher than expected, since California did not seem to have the underpricing that plagued other markets", said Kathy Hempstead, director of health coverage issues at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to Covered California's Lee, nearly 80 percent of customers could pay less than they're paying today or pay no more than a 5 percent increase if they switch plans. Thats the power of shopping.”. Blue Shield of California got a 19% average increase while Anthem got an average increase of 17.2% in California, exchange executive director Peter Lee said. Additionally, there are variables within the Affordable Care Act which may have long-term effects on healthcare spending that haven't been determined in this report.

As the authors note, "That growth rate is largely related to rising disposable personal incomes, as well as the continued use of high-cost specialty drugs and faster growth in drug prices".

The precise impact of the fiscal hit posed by the premium increases is hard to pinpoint at this early stage, but there is no question that the state's exposure to significant increases in Obamacare-driven health care expenditures will increase dramatically over the next few years.

The Covered California rate announcement surprised some experts who have tracked the state's implementation of the health law. Covered California's proposed budget for 2017, released in May, projected average rate increases of 8 percent. You can browse for others on Covered California's website. Customers who had purchased individual plans through the insurer will need to purchase plans from new carriers that will be effective by August 1, the state's Department of consumer and Business Services announced Monday.

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"We work hard to build a robust exchange that drives competition by attracting as many consumers as possible", Lee said. But the nation's largest health insurer is leaving Covered California after just one year of minimal participation - part of a broader pullback nationwide after the company posted heavy losses on individual plans. But the other half might see much higher increases.

What this all means is the shifting of the health care costs from the corporations squarely onto the backs of the working class, while at the same time, gutting the quality of care.

At the time we wrote, "The ACA will cut costs dramatically for employers and the government while reducing and rationing medical services for millions of ordinary people-while boosting the profits of the health care industry". "California consumers can not continue to pay more for very limited doctors and hospital networks".

George Balteria, chief executive of Quote Selection Insurance Services, with offices throughout Orange County, said that although he expected a smaller increase, he thinks future rate hikes will be more predictable than before the start of the Affordable Care Act.

Covered California is the state's marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And when premiums rise, generally these tax credits increase as well. But this only assumes a 5% share of the cost for the State of California.

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