Saturday, October 31, 2015

WSJ: Health insurance premiums going up next year.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that health insurance premiums will rise next year:

The Obama administration said many consumers will see noticeable premium increases when buying health coverage on insurance exchanges in 2016, acknowledging for the first time what many health-care experts had predicted.

Federal officials said Monday that the price of the second-lowest-cost midrange “silver plan”—a key metric for premiums around the country—will increase by 7.5% on average across the three-dozen states that rely on Washington to administer the health law for them.

And 60% of enrollees—across 30 of the largest markets in the U.S.—will see the average rate for that benchmark plan rise by 6.3%, according to a Health and Human Services report on premium data that hasn’t yet been made fully public.....

“For most consumers, premium increases for 2016 are in the single digits and they will be able to find plans for less than $100 a month,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the health-insurance marketplaces.

In many parts of the country, the most popular plans have sought and won premium increases in the double-digits for the year ahead, in a move that could force enrollees to try to look for a less familiar brand of coverage. Premiums are a major issue for consumers and politicians as they scrutinize the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act.

Insurers sought increases for 2016 because many found business more costly than expected or have incurred losses. The law requires companies to sell policies to anyone regardless of their medical history, and with only limited variations on premiums.

Insurers, who have priced plans for 2016 in part based on what they experienced in 2015, also faced higher costs in part due to rising prescription-drug prices, and they saw lower-than-expected payouts from a federal program that aims to offset carriers’ risk by providing funds to companies with costlier, sicker consumers.

“7.5% is lower than forecast in the spring, when we were hearing what rate increases would be like,” said Cheryl Fish-Parcham, director of the private insurance program at Families USA, a group that advocates for the health law. “It shows the rate review process has worked in many states.”...

State insurance regulators around the country have largely approved all or most of the hefty premium increases sought by the largest health plans for 2016. Some have jumped by double digits: On average, premiums will rise in 2016 for the second lowest-cost silver plan by 31.5% in Alaska and 22.9% in Oregon, according to the report. Oklahoma will see a 35.7% hike.

President Barack Obama in July had tamped down fears of a large rise in premiums by saying he expected final rates to come in lower than insurers had requested.

The 2010 health-care law provides for government subsidies in the form of tax credits for some consumers who buy insurance on the exchanges because they don’t have coverage through a job or government program such as Medicare. Those subsidies will blunt the impact of price increases for individuals who get them, but the tab is picked up by the federal government.

The value of the credits is pegged to the cost of the second-lowest-priced silver plan. Coverage on the exchanges is broken into categories, silver being a midtier plan that is more expensive than bronze but less expensive than gold and platinum. Consumers with silver plans generally have about 70% of their health-care costs covered.

Customers who shop around may be able to contain price increases or pay a more modest hike. Last year, more than half of customers who re-enrolled returned to, the federal exchange. Of those, half switched providers and half stayed with the one they had.

Administration officials pointed out that costs are still low for many enrollees, and said nearly eight in 10 consumers will get a subsidy. They also said nearly eight in 10 returning customers will be able to buy plans with premiums under $100 a month after subsidies. Returning customers who don’t go online to select a new plan are automatically re-enrolled in the plan they had for 2015.

Seven in 10 returning consumers will be able to buy a plan for $75 or less in monthly premiums after subsidies in 2016, the administration said.

The administration is projecting about 10 million people will have paid up coverage through the federal and state exchanges by the end of 2009, only a slight bump from the 9.9 million with paid-up plans as of June. That means it will be increasingly important for the Obama administration to retain customers, a goal that could be more challenging amid the premium increases.

Higher premiums could also be an obstacle to getting people enrolled. While subsidies for eligible consumers reduce the cost of monthly premiums, a large number of uninsured cite cost as a barrier to obtaining coverage.


Anonymous said...

I would like to see a comparison of state vs. federally run exchanges. My guess is that states would have done it better, and Phil Bryant should have let Mike Chaney implement his plan. However, my opinion at this time is as valid as most other knuckleheads commenting here.

Anonymous said...

State exchanges are going out of business. Eight so far?

Anonymous said...

If Blue Cross would participate in the Mississippi federal exchange we would see much lower rates both on and off of the exchange. Mike Chaney had a great plan that would have provided the state with excellent healthcare coverage at reasonable rates but he never got a chance to do it.

Anonymous said...


It would be nice if you saw the folly of your comment and it would be a waste to attempt to explain it, I'm quite certain.

United States Socialist Republic

Anonymous said...

6:48, is that what McDaniel tells you to say when you can't articulate an argument.

Exchanges are the product of republican leadership. But when enveloped in the ACA, thoughtless nimrods like you decided they must be evil.

Anonymous said...

But Obama and the Democrats said the premiums would drop under Obamacare. Obama is the biggest liar ever in the Whitehouse. He makes Nixon look like a choirboy.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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