Saturday, May 23, 2015

Marketplace Insurers Hiking Premiums through the Roof? Not so much...

My conservative friend in Milwaukee is moving into the health care exchange, since he no longer qualifies for BadgerCare. The state Medicaid program makes health care simple. It's easy. Now my friend is heading into the insurance marketplace, where everything is just the opposite of simple. Insurance company profits come first, not your health.

The spin on the story below is mind-bending, because it deceptively starts with the extreme side of insurance company greed, making ObamaCare look bad, and ignoring the benefits of the exchange and lower cost insurers. Just as ridiculous, the rate hikes listed given below would never get state approval. The manipulative language and extreme point of view is contradicted later in the article, after many may have stopped reading. Fortune Magazine:
Got Obamacare? Your premiums are (probably) about to go way up: According to a report published Friday in the The Wall Street Journal, health insurers are requesting the right in many states to increase premiums by upwards of 50%. Health Care Service Corp.–the leading health insurer in New Mexico, has asked state regulators to allow it to increase its premiums on average by 51.6%, for instance. Customers of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in Maryland may face an average premium increase of 30.4%.

Insurers will have to submit their premium-hike proposals to their state regulators, and potentially the federal government. Regulators will review the requests, and may deny the insurers requests if rising costs don’t justify premium increases. But big rate hikes could be necessary to prevent insurers from taking a loss. 
In some states like Wisconsin, where Republicans are doing everything to make the program look bad, the review process won't result in any denials, thus higher premiums.

The next segments says it all about the quest for insurer profits over life saving health. Insurers are actually whining about taking care of sick enrollees. Maybe they shouldn't be in the business?:
According to the report: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee . . . said it lost $141 million from exchange-sold plans, stemming largely from a small number of sick enrollees. “Our filing is planned to allow us to operate on at least a break-even basis for these plans, meaning that the rate would cover only medical services and expenses—with no profit margin for 2016,” said spokeswoman Mary Danielson.
Oh, here's the good news, saved for last of course. This is what you'll actually find, as insurers complete for your coverage:
It’s not all bad news, however. Obamacare insurers in some states–like Indiana, Connecticut and Maine–are asking for minimal or no increases to their premiums.

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