There is no secret that health insurance premiums have been going up by leaps and bounds ever since the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed and signed into law. I know one employer who’s employer provided health care coverage for his employees was up for renewal last fall. He was notified that to renew the coverage without any changes, the cost would be 41% higher than the previous year.
With the huge increases in costs to employers, many of them are opting to drop the employer provided health care benefits and just pay the penalties imposed by the government. The penalties may be up to $2,000 per employee, but when compared to paying anywhere from $4,500 to over $12,000 per employee for health care, it’s a no brainer for many employers.
The result is that thousands, perhaps millions of American’s are losing their employer provided health care coverage, leaving them with two options – purchase their own individual coverage or go without coverage and pay the penalties via their income taxes. Now, it seems the costs of individual policies are skyrocketing beyond what most Americans can afford to pay.
The Society of Actuaries just released a study indicating the costs of individual medical insurance claims in many states are going to see huge increases. Their study predicted that some states, such as New York and Massachusetts may see double digit decreases in the costs of individual medical insurance claims, while others are going to see costs of claims go through the roof. They predict that by 2017, claims in Florida will increase by 20%, California by 62%, Maryland by 67% and Ohio by 80%.
You can be assured that if the claims filed by individual policy holders are going to increase by those massive amounts, that the insurance companies will have no recourse but to pass the increases along to policy holders. Their premiums, especially in states like California, Maryland and Ohio could rise so high as to make it completely unaffordable for the vast majorities of Americans.
The White House has been trying to downplay the results and claim that they failed to take into account other factors. However, Rick Foster, recently retired Medicare chief actuary, described the report as being accurate and those involved as doing an incredible job. Commenting further, he said:
“Having said that, actuaries tend to be financially conservative, so the various assumptions might be more inclined to consider what might go wrong than to anticipate that everything will work beautifully.”
Kristi Bohn, one of the actuaries that worked on the report said:
“Claims cost is the most important driver of health care premiums.”
“We don’t see ourselves as a political organization. We are trying to figure out what the situation at hand is.”
Yet, Larry Levitt, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, believes the study needs further work. He commented:
“I’d generally characterize it as providing useful background information, but I don’t think it’s complete enough to be treated as a projection.”
I haven’t heard of anyone’s premium rates going down, only up, up and up some more. The number of uninsured Americans is increasing at an alarming rate. The Affordable Care Act should be called the Unaffordable Care Act. It has done nothing that I’ve see to make any aspect of health care more affordable and the report from Society of Actuaries only helps to paint a bleak future for those with individual health insurance.