Monday, October 18, 2010

About that cost curve Pt. II

Recall back in September, the premium hikes sought by health insurers in Connecticut and the open threats made by Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius directed at those same insurers for having the gall to pass along the cost for the extra benefits mandated by ObamaCare.

These rate increases, some up to 22%, were approved without change by state regulators.

Well, now it appears things are a lot worse than originally thought as premium rate hikes for individual plans have been requested and also approved without change by Connecticut state regulators.

The state's largest insurer has been approved to raise health premium rates by 41 percent to 47 percent for some of its policies sold to individual buyers, in the largest price hikes yet seen in Connecticut since the adoption of national health care reform.

For all of its individual market plans, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has received approval to raise rates by at least 19 percent -- including a range of 30 percent to 44 percent for the brand of plans in the individual market that was most popular in 2009, Century Preferred.

The reason for the increases is the new federal health reform mandates, according to Anthem and the state Department of Insurance, which is defending its approval against charges by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Those reforms took effect Sept. 23.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, by letter, has asked the insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan to please reconsider approval of these rate hikes. Here's Sullivan's reply:

"There is not one person in the state of Connecticut who will see an increase in their current premiums based on what the department approved for Anthem and Aetna," Sullivan said last week in response to Blumenthal's letter. "The rates that were filed and approved reflect the current cost to deliver care and the impact of more comprehensive benefit designs required under the federal healthcare reform law. If the attorney general wants to complain to someone, he should be complaining to Congress.

(italics, ours)

That's some pretty nice smack, there.

We honestly can't believe that Team O or anybody else for that matter would express surprise for these premium increases. If you are going to mandate extra benefits, that cost has to be taken out of hide somewhere and in a free market system, that usually means the customer.

And this goes even more so for the low cost/low benefit individual plans favored by small businesses, students and the self-employed. The reason these types of plans are so popular with the aforementioned is precisely because they aren't loaded up with crap they neither want nor need. ObamaCare is effectively destroying the individual health plan market.

The President told us he was pursuing ObamaCare to bend downward the cost curve but because neither he nor his people have one clue as to how the free market operates, he has given us a piece of legislation that is doing the exact opposite of what he intended.


Anonymous said...

Mrs. 'Dawg's insurance is about to now cover the children under the age of 26 due to fed regs. How can they do this without covering the losses. Business is not here to cover O/U. Try to explain this to the new beneficiaries of our expected premiums.

Dean said...

'Dawg, I was thinking of you when I found out about that provision.

I'm assuming this additional coverage is not gratis and will becoming out of Mrs. Dawg's paycheck.