Insurers Steeply Hike Obamacare Premiums

The burgeoning cost of buying health insurance on the ACA exchanges continues as health insurers in the first states to make public filings—Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut—want to increase premiums by at least 20%, according to Bloomberg News. In Maryland, for instance, CareFirst is asking for a 50% increase in premiums. One of the issues is uncertainty that the individual mandate will be enforced and that means that “younger individuals will drop coverage and drive up the cost for everyone,” said CareFirst’s CEO Chet Burrell.

As Bloomberg News reports, the ACA finds itself facing a Catch-22. “Republicans and Trump want to repeal much of the law, and say the rising premiums are proof it isn’t working. At the same time, many insurers point to a lack of support for Obamacare’s programs as a reason for the increases, and have asked for help.”

CareFirst, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association health plan, said that it expects to lose $600 million from the start of Obamacare through the end of 2017. Bloomberg News reports that it is still too early to predict whether what’s happening in Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut is part of a growing trend. It cites a study by Standard & Poor’s released in April that predicts Blues plans could turn a small profit on the exchange marketplace next year.

Of course, with so much uncertainty….

Source: Bloomberg News

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