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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Obamacare Sticker Shock: Prices For Some To Jump Over 150%

By Susan Duclos

Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, is not quite as "affordable" for some as the name Democrats and Barack Obama gave the law implied it would be, as estimates from studies and insurances companies are reported.

Via Politico:

The federal health care law could nearly triple premiums for some young and healthy men, according to a forthcoming survey of insurers that singles out a group that might become a major public opinion battleground in the Obamacare wars.

The survey, fielded by the conservative American Action Forum and made available to POLITICO, found that if the law’s insurance rules were in force, the premium for a relatively bare-bones policy for a 27-year-old male nonsmoker on the individual market would be nearly 190 percent higher.

“The findings highlight the sticker shock in health care premiums that awaits the relatively young and healthy in both the small group and individual markets as the ACA is fully implemented. The survey finds cost of premiums for this group will increase by an average of 169 percent. Conversely, the survey found that the premiums of older and sicker individuals in these markets will be relatively subsidized by the ACA, with that group seeing an average decrease in premium costs of just under 25 percent," according to the AAF survey.

The jump in cost for the younger population will vary state to state:

Milwaukee citizens will be hit hardest: The young and healthy can expect premium increases of 190 percent. The lowest premium increases in these big cities will be in Phoenix where young people will face a 157 percent premium increase.

The reduction in cost for the elderly will also vary state to state:

In Milwaukee, AAF found, older and less healthy people in the individual market will see average premium reductions of 15 percent. In Austin, premiums will be 32 percent lower for this group. The survey found that older and sicker individuals in all of these markets will see an average decrease in premium costs of just under 25 percent.

 Even those claiming that this particular study shows higher increases than other studies have, still admit that costs could be more than doubled.

Aetna chief executive Mark T. Bertolini invoked the term at his company’s recent annual investor conference, cautioning that premiums for plans sold to individuals could rise as much as 50 percent on average and could more than double for particular groups such as the young and healthy.

Obamacare proponents call the terms "rate shock" and "sticker shock," fear phrases being used by  critics and opponents of the law, but insurance companies confirm that prices are being raised significantly due to the Obamacare law.

The New York Times reported in January 2013:

In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014. 

 In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month.

With unemployment at 7.9 percent, having been at or over 7.8 percent since Obama took office, paychecks lowered from more taxes being taken out after the payroll holiday tax was allowed to expire, retailers reporting a downturn in sales and the economy's GDP growth going negative as of the last report, one has to wonder how these young Americans, especially theones that do not qualify for subsidies will be able to afford these massive hikes for insurance.