Health insurance premiums will soar during the coming months, right as the 2014 election season gets underway, as insurers grapple with the failed rollout of Obamacare, according to an explosive article in The Hill.
Insurance industry officials tell the newspaper that premiums will double in some parts of the country, harming Democrats’ chances and hampering the next round of enrollment efforts in 2015.
The worries from the industry come less than a week after HHS Secretary Sebelius downplayed the problem, telling Capitol Hill that increases would grow more slowly than in the past.
From the piece:
“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.
Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year.
“It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.
The spikes are a direct consequence of the delays and changes the White House made during the rollout, indicating the administration’s moves to calm political storms will backfire:
(Insurers) point out that the administration, after a massive public outcry, eased their policies to allow people to keep their old health plans. That kept some healthy people in place, instead of making them jump into the new exchanges.
Federal health officials have also limited the amount of money the government can spend to help insurers cover the cost of new, sick patients.
Perhaps most important, insurers have been disappointed that young people only make up about one-quarter of the enrollees in plans through the insurance exchanges, according to public figures that were released earlier this year. That ratio might change in the weeks ahead because the administration anticipates many more people in their 20s and 30s will sign up close to the March 31 enrollment deadline. Many insurers, however, don’t share that optimism.
These factors will have the unintended consequence of raising rates, sources said.
Amazing. Truly incomprehensible. We were told we would save money – in the realm of $2,500 per family. And yet, it’s going to cost more. And that’s before insurers start cutting services and coverage in order to make up the money they are losing.
The probable response here, given the Obama White House mindset, will be government mandates to force insurers not to raise rates. And then when the companies start to go out of business, calls for government to take them over.
And eventually – particularly given that Obamacare is failing at its core mission of covering the uninsured – demands for a single-payer program.