Critics of Obamacare have long forecast major premium spikes, and their predictions are coming true.
Today’s Wall Street Journal highlights how officials in several states have accepted the sizeable premium hikes sought by their biggest insurers, despite the Obama administration’s promises of affordability:
At a July town hall in Nashville, Tenn., President Barack Obama played down fears of a spike in health insurance premiums in his signature health law’s third year.
“My expectation is that they’ll come in significantly lower than what’s being requested,” he said, saying Tennesseans had to work to ensure the state’s insurance commissioner “does their job in not just passively reviewing the rates, but really asking, ‘OK, what is it that you are looking for here? Why would you need very high premiums?’”
That commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, answered on Friday by greenlighting the full 36.3% increase sought by the biggest health plan in the state, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. She said the insurer demonstrated the hefty increase for 2016 was needed to cover higher-than-expected claims from sick people who signed up for individual policies in the first two years of the Affordable Care Act.
And Tennessee residents aren’t the only ones facing big price increases when the next enrollment period begins on Nov. 1.
For its biggest health-exchange insurer, Oregon approved a 25.6 percent premium hike; in Kentucky, a 25.1 percent increase was approved; in Ohio, Blue Cross’s 23 percent increase was deemed “not unreasonable”; Ohio has approved a 14.5 percent increase; and Michigan gave the sign-off on a 11.4 percent premium spike, the Wall Street Journal notes.
These premium hikes have come as insurers better understand the new demographics of coverage under Obamacare. Low enrollment among the young and healthy has persisted, despite the Obama administration’s attempts to shame millennials into subsidizing the health care of others. So the sick, elderly and chronically ill make up an outsized portion of the insured.
That suggests that this isn’t the only enrollment season where American families will be forced to accept rising premiums. Welcome to the new normal.