ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

“The health insurance tax will raise families’ insurance costs by as much as $7,000 over a decade, according to a study conducted by the firm Oliver Wyman on behalf of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the insurance industry’s leading trade group.”

“Now that the election is out of the way, the Obama administration is able to reveal more about its regulatory plans for implementing that law. On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services released 373 pages of new Obamacare regs, and buried deep within is a 3.5 percent ‘user fee’ — that is, tax — on premiums from health plans sold on Obamacare’s soon-to-be-established federal exchanges. This tax comes above and beyond Obamacare’s $100 billion excise tax on insurers.”

“In recent weeks, the Obama administration issued a series of proposed regulations for the health insurance market. Since then, I conducted an informal survey of a number of insurers with substantial individual and small group business… On average, expect a 30% to 40% increase in the baseline cost of individual health insurance to account for the new premium taxes, reinsurance costs, benefit mandate increases, and underwriting reforms.”

“If young adults can’t afford health insurance policies available in 2014 under the health care law, state insurance officials are worried they won’t buy them. And that could drive up the cost of insurance for the mostly older, sicker people who do purchase coverage. That’s a potential problem even in states like California and Rhode Island, which are moving ahead to carry out the law, state officials told representatives of the Obama administration Friday at a meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.”

“The landmark health-care law, which survived the threats of repeal and a Supreme Court review, now confronts another hurdle: living up to expectations. As the administration spells out the details, many uninsured will be surprised at how much they will have to pay. It may involve ‘very substantial amounts,’ and ‘there still will be a significant number of people who can’t afford health coverage,’ said Ron Pollack, head of Families USA, a consumer group that backs the law.”

“While the future of the 2010 health care law stabilized with the re-election of President Obama, both Democrats and Republicans say now is the time for them to come together to fix it… Until Tuesday, when Obama’s future was determined, Republicans opposed to the law waited for a change in administrations that would allow them to repeal the law. That will not happen now with a Democrat in the White House for the next four years… But changes are imminent.”

“Tuesday night’s win in the presidential contest for President Obama was a win for ObamaCare, the president’s signature legislation from his first term. ObamaCare will now continue to be implemented. This future means that we will continue to be faced with rising insurance premiums, as our current insurance expands to cover all patients regardless of pre-existing condition, age, or how many times they’ve already used the policy.”

“A Cigna Corp. executive said Thursday that taxes on the health insurance industry related to the Affordable Care Act, or federal health care reform, will be pushed onto customers in the form of higher premiums. Cigna’s Chief Financial Officer Ralph J. Nicoletti responded to a question about the taxes during a conference call with financial analysts Thursday morning when the Bloomfield-based health insurer reported third-quarter earnings.”

“With the Presidential election one week away, it’s worth reviewing how Obamacare will impact the residents of key swing states. In Ohio, as elsewhere, Obamacare will drive up the cost of private health coverage, especially for those who buy insurance on their own. A non-partisan study found that, by 2017, individual premiums in Ohio will increase by as much as 85 percent. “

“California officials have floated the idea of legislating lower prices. One way would be to throw West Los Angeles and Orange County into the same risk pools. That might reduce premiums in West L.A., but only by increasing premiums in Orange County. With a few simplifying assumptions, premiums in both West L.A. and the O.C. could rise by 19 percent. An alternative would be to cap premium increases. One state official proposes a cap of 8 percent. But that would just be an implicit form of government rationing. If insurers cannot charge premiums that cover their costs, they will cover fewer services.”