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Obamacare premiums in 2015
Old 03-25-2014, 01:54 PM   #1
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Obamacare premiums in 2015

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Obamacare Insurer WellPoint Sees Double-Digit Rate Rise - Bloomberg

"Two months before health insurers must submit rate proposals for 2015 to government regulators, WellPoint Inc. (WLP) fired a surprising shot across their bow by predicting it may ask for “double-digit plus” increases."
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:59 PM   #2
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My HI went up 13% from 2012 to 2013 and 9% from 2013 to 2014 so why should a double-digit rate increase be such a big surprise to anyone paying attention?
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:05 PM   #3
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I think we need to wait and see. Given frequent huge increases in many past years even before ACA, even if one year's premium adjustments come in high doesn't provide proof that the law will result in unprecedented health care inflation moving forward.
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:15 PM   #4
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Not sure my DD is going to be able to afford this Affordable Health Care. According to an ACA calculator she will get $2.00/mo. assistance and pay over $200/mo. She can't afford an apartment by herself while she is under my health plan.
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
My HI went up 13% from 2012 to 2013 and 9% from 2013 to 2014 so why should a double-digit rate increase be such a big surprise to anyone paying attention?
At the risk of turning this into a political discussion, which is not my intent, perhaps because one of the things the ACA is supposed to do is slow the rate of growth of health care costs, specifically to individuals? Hence the name...

If the growth rate of HI costs before ACA is the same as it is after ACA, that puts a dent in one of the "goods" this law was to provide.
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:50 PM   #6
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If the growth rate of HI costs before ACA is the same as it is after ACA, that puts a dent in one of the "goods" this law was to provide.
I think there's inevitably an adjustment period of a small number of years as insurers learn how to price the "new normal" based on actual enrollments and the like. Personally, while I would agree that restraining overall health care inflation was sadly lacking in the law (IMO) I'd also add that one can't really draw conclusions until a few years have passed and a new baseline is well established.

Also, things like the penalties for "going naked" are almost nonexistent in the first year so until they have some teeth we will likely see some pricing pressure caused by adverse selection.
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:14 PM   #7
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I think there's inevitably an adjustment period of a small number of years as insurers learn how to price the "new normal" based on actual enrollments and the like. Personally, while I would agree that restraining overall health care inflation was sadly lacking in the law (IMO) I'd also add that one can't really draw conclusions until a few years have passed and a new baseline is well established.

Also, things like the penalties for "going naked" are almost nonexistent in the first year so until they have some teeth we will likely see some pricing pressure caused by adverse selection.
This country (and many others) have been down the price control path. Ben there don't want to go there again.
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:26 PM   #8
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This country (and many others) have been down the price control path. Ben there don't want to go there again.
I could be wrong but I took him to mean that many issues around health care costs were not addressed (as of yet) in the law. Like tort reform, drug costs and such...................
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:55 PM   #9
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I could be wrong but I took him to mean that many issues around health care costs were not addressed (as of yet) in the law. Like tort reform, drug costs and such...................
Tort reform is something I could agree with. That is a lot bigger than the ACA. I just don't like the idea of telling Drs and other health providers how much they can charge at the national level. I have no problem with contracts between Drs and health insurance companies where the Drs can accept or decline. The competition at the health provider level should constrain the costs.
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:13 PM   #10
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I could be wrong but I took him to mean that many issues around health care costs were not addressed (as of yet) in the law. Like tort reform, drug costs and such...................
Agree.
Cost containment also means controls on consumption of expensive HC resources, and not just cutting down on fraud & waste. Medical research has created some very expensive tests, drugs, procedures, etc. Use of the most expensive items stuff be discouraged where less expensive alternatives work as well. And stop spending entirely on stuff that makes no difference in health outcomes. What goods is universal access to HI if no one (inc eventually the Gov't) can afford it?
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:22 PM   #11
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Tort reform is something I could agree with. That is a lot bigger than the ACA. I just don't like the idea of telling Drs and other health providers how much they can charge at the national level. I have no problem with contracts between Drs and health insurance companies where the Drs can accept or decline. The competition at the health provider level should constrain the costs.
For one thing, ACA does not tell docs or health providers how much they can charge - that is still between insurers and providers.

Second, while in theory competition at the health provider level should constrain costs in practice it doesn't principally because consumers do not "shop" medical services like they shop for other services.
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:32 PM   #12
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For one thing, ACA does not tell docs or health providers how much they can charge - that is still between insurers and providers.

Second, while in theory competition at the health provider level should constrain costs in practice it doesn't principally because consumers do not "shop" medical services like they shop for other services.
I see I have offended some on my thoughts on the subject of adding additional cost controls to ACA. My apologies to those I offended.

I had a very bad personal experience with the price controls implemented by Richard Nixon and don't want this country, or me, to go though something like that again.

Open records for hospital and Drs success/failure/satisfaction type reports would help people make a decision on selecting a provider based on the facilities and Drs in the plan. Not sure I would want a system with shopping when I was sick and needed treatment.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:53 PM   #13
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In 2007 our group coverage went up 27%. That was for one year. Ironically, because of the economy our income went down by about the same amount, so it's not clear what all that extra money was paying for since I was w*rking for a very large primary care group at the time.

Tort reform has not been effective at lowering costs in Texas or California when instituted there. It makes it hard for poor people and, um, retired people to sue doctors though. Malpractice insurance costs are much more closely related to stock market performance.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:40 PM   #14
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Part of ACA is that any premium increase over 10%/year has to go through a review process where the insurer has to justify the increase. Time will tell if that process will just be a rubber stamp or not but at least there will be some visibility.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:59 PM   #15
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I see I have offended some on my thoughts on the subject of adding additional cost controls to ACA. My apologies to those I offended....
No offense taken. It's just that your assertions were misinformed and I didn't want to see your post perpetuate misinformation.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:03 AM   #16
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I think there's inevitably an adjustment period of a small number of years as insurers learn how to price the "new normal" based on actual enrollments and the like. Personally, while I would agree that restraining overall health care inflation was sadly lacking in the law (IMO) I'd also add that one can't really draw conclusions until a few years have passed and a new baseline is well established.

Also, things like the penalties for "going naked" are almost nonexistent in the first year so until they have some teeth we will likely see some pricing pressure caused by adverse selection.
+1 on both points.

For 23 years, I worked in the actuarial field, specializing in personal auto insurance. I worked on several pricings of law changes, some of the really big ones such as the big one in 1990 in Pennsylvania (which included some cost containment on medical costs). It took a few years for the post-law data to work its way into the data we reviewed for subsequent recommended rate changes. Thankfully, we did a good job in predicting how the data would change from the law so we did not have any really big swings.

I also strongly agree with your second point about the penalties. I wonder how all of those young "invincibles" will react when the small fines they pay for choosing to go without insurance begin to rise a lot. I kinda wished the bigger maximum fines the ACA allows a few years from now were in place right away to provide a bigger incentive to buy insurance in 2014 instead of waiting another year or two.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:38 AM   #17
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.......... I wonder how all of those young "invincibles" will react when the small fines they pay for choosing to go without insurance begin to rise a lot. I kinda wished the bigger maximum fines the ACA allows a few years from now were in place right away to provide a bigger incentive to buy insurance in 2014 instead of waiting another year or two.
Looks like (and I saw news segment on this) that exemptions for the fine are going to be pretty easy to get. See link below. Item #14 is pretty wide open. Wonder if/when the rules will change. (Please note that I am not recommending anyone roll the dice and going without HI).

https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions/
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:30 AM   #18
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See

Obamacare Insurer WellPoint Sees Double-Digit Rate Rise - Bloomberg

"Two months before health insurers must submit rate proposals for 2015 to government regulators, WellPoint Inc. (WLP) fired a surprising shot across their bow by predicting it may ask for “double-digit plus” increases."

My company has a good health insurance plan all across the board. The below statement was posted to the company employee web page recently. In a recent department head meeting concerning the benefits package we were told the 2014 increase in health insurance premiums were greater than the last 6 years combined. Employees are not looking forward to what 2015 might bring!

"Due to the implications of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act that recently took effect, UHC was unable to continue to offer these plans without an increase in premiums. Premiums will increase by approximately 28% for both the Choice (Florida) and Choice Plus (regional) plans."


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Old 03-26-2014, 10:08 AM   #19
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The uncertainty of how premiums might increase in the first couple of years in addition to whether the "subsidy" program could be maintained is the primary reason why I am not considering ER until 2016 even though firecalc gives me a 100% success rate. Big difference in the long term before Medicare if premiums run $20K+ vs $4K a year!
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:30 AM   #20
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My company has a good health insurance plan all across the board. The below statement was posted to the company employee web page recently. In a recent department head meeting concerning the benefits package we were told the 2014 increase in health insurance premiums were greater than the last 6 years combined. Employees are not looking forward to what 2015 might bring!

"Due to the implications of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act that recently took effect, UHC was unable to continue to offer these plans without an increase in premiums. Premiums will increase by approximately 28% for both the Choice (Florida) and Choice Plus (regional) plans."


Mike
Employers have been pushing rising insurance costs off onto employees for years, but now they get to shrug and blame it on "Obamacare". It's raining here in San Diego and I may just blame it on Obamacare myself.
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