Obamacare Premium Increases: Stopping the Bleeding

For the last few years, spring has been the time of proposed premium increases for the following year.  Projections for 2017 bring increases as high as 37% for some health insurance plans on the state exchanges, but it’s still early.

These spring reports are just the opening suggestions from insurers, which are subject to revision. Under Obamacare, any insurer requesting more than a 10% increase in premiums must submit this proposal to state or federal government for “rate reviews”. In 2015, 30% of patients had premium increases reduced or blocked during the process. Officials encourage people to return to the marketplace each year to comparison shop, especially if their premiums are set to increase significantly. More than 80% of patients purchasing plans on the exchanges qualify for tax credits, this capping the out-of-pocket contribution based on family income, but not capping costs to taxpayers.

It is unknown how much prices will increase in the next year. Two of Obamacare’s provisions to reduce financial risk for insurers, the risk corridor and reinsurance provisions, expire the end of 2016. Companies may increase their prices further to protect themselves against higher costs without these safeguards. Other plans may increase premiums if they were found to be previously underpriced. Some insurance companies may choose to leave exchanges completely.

Raising insurance premiums will place financial strain on patients. Expensive plans result in lower enrollment rates and reduces the effectiveness of Obamacare at covering the uninsured. The federal budget will also have more obligations to pay out more subsidies. Premium growth is a policy challenge that needs to be examined and addressed.

Do you have a medical need that is not covered by your current insurance plan? Are you sick and tired of paying more and getting less for your money? MediBid helps by getting rid of the middleman and connecting you directly with a physician or facility ready to treat you. Without the regulations and red tape of insurance, prices are greatly reduced and you are free to select the doctor of your choice.
Sommers MD, Benjamin. “Obamacare’s Skyrocketing Premiums? Why the Sky Isn’t Falling.” Perspective. The New England Journal of Medicine, 21 Jul 2016. Web. 21 Jul 2016.

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