March 19th, 2014

Obamacare premiums to go up: who knew?

I get tired of writing “no surprise here.”

But—no surprise here:

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

“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 insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the ObamaCare exchange.

Next year’s probable rate hikes will be announced right before the election—unless Obama finds a way to either (a) postpone that little habit of the insurance companies; or (2) give them enough bailout (risk corridor) money on the side in exchange for a promise not to raise rates; or (3) raise the subsidies so that no one really will be paying the actual rates except the very, very rich (which somewhat amounts to the same thing as #2, just through a different route).

I suppose if he’s done what he’s already done, he can do that, too. Who’s going to stop him?

And it’s pretty certain that, say whatever the increase is, they will claim it’s less than what would have occurred without Obamacare, whether it’s true or not.

Sebelius’ role is clear, too. She’s a good apparatchik who will say whatever is needed, however preposterous, to placate the public for as long as possible. Why “insurance officials” should be “baffled” about any of it baffles me, quite frankly—if they’re even really baffled at all.

12 Responses to “Obamacare premiums to go up: who knew?”

  1. M J R Says:

    “Why ‘insurance officials’ should be ‘baffled’ about any of it baffles me, quite frankly—if they’re even really baffled at all.”

    They’re not “baffled” in the least. Trust me.

    It’s just a member of the mainstream media brainlessly, and sometimes breathlessly, using the phrase that fits the preordained paradigm, whether or not there’s a shred of evidence backing it.

  2. Don Carlos Says:

    The health insurance companies’ common stocks are doing just fine, better than the Dow, and this has been going on for a right good while. Aetna stock has tripled in the past 3 years, for example. Humana went up 3% just today. Aetna, Wellpoint and Humana are all at 52-week highs.

  3. Cornhead Says:

    This whole Obamacare law was crafted for Corporate America and that includes health insurers.

    Don’t forget that Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and he now is the head lobbyist for the insurance industry.

  4. Cornhead Says:

    Addendum: Nelson was the 60th vote.

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    Don’t worry, if you capture a conservative witch and burn it at the stake, your premiums are guaranteed to go down by 20% per burning.

    Long Live the Democrat KKK.

  6. Cornhead Says:

    Addendum 2. And Bennie was a lobbyist for the insurance companies before he was governor and senator.

    Don Carlos is correct. Health insurance companies have had great common stock performance since the ACA passed. And their losses are covered. Cozy deal.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    She’s a good apparatchik who will say whatever is needed, however preposterous, to placate the public for as long as possible.

    So Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad Bob is the same as American Hussein’s propaganda head.

  8. Beverly Says:

    Well, the Powers that Be (TPTB), government and corporate, have John Q. Public trussed up like a pig for the slaughter.

    We will from henceforth have NO CONTROL over our medical care: TPTB will raise our rates/taxes at will; there will be no recourse when they deny/ration our medical care — AND we won’t be allowed to sue. After all, you can’t sue the Government!


    You know all the folks who whined and bitched about how bad the insurance companies were, raising rates, denying coverage for this or that? How Stupid Can They Be to vote for it all to be handed over to a bloody oligarchy that is completely unaccountable (in any real-world sense) to its victims? (Yeah, I know: there are a lot of “citizens” whose political IQ is in the single-digit range).

  9. Beverly Says:

    Another thing that we already know is going to go up: the penalty/tax/John Quisling Roberts Memorial Fund. It’s only the first year that it’s “just $95″ or whatever.

  10. n.n Says:

    With trillion dollar deficits, and a four trillion dollar operation, “reform” still required increasing total costs and subsidies to assure “affordability” while not increasing availability nor ensuring universal medical insurance, let alone health care.

  11. Don Carlos Says:

    Centralization of health care has been going on for a long time, more than 30 years now. In 1970 the NC Medical Society was recruiting docs to the entire state, including Durham County (not to Duke Univ Med Ctr, either), and there was a non-Duke hospital in Durham for them to use. Duke figured out it was training its own competition, so….now health care in Durham County is all Duke. Next door is Orange County, home of UNC; all health care there is UNC. Duke and UNC have divided adjacent Wake County (Raleigh, state capitol) so each owns a hospital there and 50% of the docs work for one or the other.

    Feds don’t think this is antitrust: if you don’t like UNC you can go to Duke. This same story-vertically integrated ‘non-profits’- now covers the large majority of the US population.

    A majority of MDs finishing training now get hired by the megamedicals; owning one’s own shop is too costly and too burdensome. If your patients need to use their insurance, you cannot compete with a megamedical. Cosmetics is the only out…for cash.

    The allegiance of an employee, even a medical employee, is to the employer, not the patient.
    You ain’t seen nothing yet, though: await the IPAB.

  12. Beverly Says:

    A Poor Soul called Rush today, confessed he’d voted for Comrade Zero twice, then said, “I have private insurance. But I just got a letter saying if I don’t enroll in the plan by March 31, I can’t get in until next year!” He was dumbfounded that Obamacare has its tentacles all over the “private” insurance plans, too.


    I do know that the walls have been closing in for a long time (and there’s no faithful little droid to save us). I’m in NYC, which is well down the line into the abyss. Just in the last 3 years, e.g., my deductible went from $0, to $1000, to $2000. And my co-insurance went from 0% to 20% in that same time. Over just about five years, the premiums went up from $350 to $688.

    Brace yourselves, folks. This horror show is Coming Soon to a City Near You.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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