Obama administration finally admits that health insurance premiums are going up under Obamacare
Some people purchasing new insurance policies for themselves this fall could see premiums rise because of requirements in the health-care law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Tuesday.
Ms. Sebelius’s remarks come weeks before insurers are expected to begin releasing rates for plans that start on Jan. 1, 2014, when key provisions of the health law kick in. Premiums have been a sensitive subject for the Obama administration, which is counting on elements in the health law designed to increase competition among insurers to keep rates in check. The administration has pointed to subsidies that will be available for many lower-income Americans to help them with the cost of coverage. . . .
As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, some insurers have already begun signaling they could dramatically increase prices for people buying policies in the individual market to compensate for restrictions on how they treat consumers, as well as new fees and requirements that they provide bigger benefits packages.
The Society of Actuaries, a nonpartisan professional association, has issued a new report warning that the cost of medical claims in the new individual-insurance market could rise by an average of 32% per person over the first few years the law is in place, as more people with higher medical needs get coverage, and that the impact will be very different depending on the state. Medical bills are another key factor in determining premiums. . . .I am not sure that the following glitch is that important because the grant is less than the cost of insurance and the penalty from not having insurance. From Reuters:
. . . Millions of Americans will be priced out of health insurance under President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul because of a glitch in the law that adversely affects people with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by their employers, a leading healthcare advocacy group said on Tuesday.
Tax credits are a key component of the law and the White House has said the credits, averaging about $4,000 apiece, will help about 18 million individuals and families pay for health insurance once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, beginning in January 2014.
The tax credits are geared toward low and middle-income Americans who do not have access to affordable health insurance coverage through an employer. The law specifies that employer-sponsored insurance is affordable so long as a worker’s share of the premium does not exceed 9.5 percent of the worker’s household income.
In its rule making, or final interpretation of the law, the IRS said affordability should be based strictly on individual coverage costs, however. That means that, even if family coverage through an employer-based plan far exceeds the 9.5 percent cutoff, workers would not be eligible for the tax credits to help buy insurance for children or non-working dependents. . . .