Premiums for individual policies sold under the Affordable Care Act could increase by as much as 60% next year.
Regulators are forced to either approve the increases demanded by health insurance companies or lose those companies.
“Obamacare has become even more unaffordable for Georgia’s middle class,” complains Georgia insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens. “I am disappointed by reports that the latest Obamacare repeal has stalled once again and urge Congress to take action to end this failed health insurance experiment.”
According to Hudgens, Obamacare customers in Georgia can expect rates to increase by as much as 57% in 2018.
In Florida, rates are expected to increase by about 45%; in New Mexico, by 30%; and in New York, by 14%. This data comes from The New York Times, which noted that individuals qualifying for federal subsidies would not be forced to pay higher premiums. Those who don’t qualify for subsidies will feel the brunt of the increases.
“The final prices and policies available for all plans may not be public until November 1st, leaving many consumers confused about coverage costs as a shortened period of open enrollment for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act begins,” reports The Times.
Meanwhile, insurance companies continue to insist that the increases are unavoidable.
Despite the latest GOP failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, insurers have no guarantee that the federal government will continue to allocate millions of dollars for healthcare. This means that insurers are forced to set rates without an agreement.
“It’s very hard for a regulator to deny those rate increases when we can take a look at their bottom line and can tell they can’t continue if they can’t keep their head above water,” sais Washington commissioner Mike Kreidler.
It is unclear whether the Trump Administration will continue to enforce the individual mandate or continue to provide subsidies, and this uncertainty has caused some insurers to jump ship.
Some states are demanding that insurers assume federal financing will continue. Others are prohibiting insurers from setting higher rates based on the possible loss of subsidies.
New Mexico insurance regulator John Franchini blames the increases on the “uncertainty in Washington and the inability to lead.”
“Given the size of the rate increases, we think healthier people will continue to opt out of the risk pool,” predicts Chet Burrell of CareFirst. This could lead to even higher premiums. “If that occurs, then you’re in a death spiral.”
Author’s Note: One of the ACA’s biggest flaws is that it depends on healthy customers in order to drive prices down. But healthy people will only buy insurance if it is affordable.
The situation will get worse and worse until Obamacare collapses – or until the structure is changed back to a market economy, and then pushed even further into a more competitive market.