ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.
Delawareans are again facing steep price increases for health insurance next year under the Affordable Care Act.
Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart has approved an average rate increase of 32.5 percent in the individual market for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, which has the vast majority of the individual market share in Delaware. That follows an average premium increase of 22.4 percent for individual Highmark plans this year.
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States with some of the worst Obamacare news this year also have the biggest need for people to sign up, presenting a major challenge to advocates for the healthcare law.
Of the six states where insurers have proposed the steepest price increases affecting the most people, five have among the highest uninsured rates in the country, according to data compiled by independent analyst Charles Gaba.
In Tennessee, where 11 percent of residents remain uninsured, average monthly premiums could rise by 56 percent next year if insurers follow through with the prices they have proposed.
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Minnesota’s commerce commissioner called for reforms to strengthen the federal marketplace Friday after announcing monthly premium increases of at least 50 percent for 2017.
“While federal tax credits will help make monthly premiums more affordable for many Minnesotans, these rising insurance rates are both unsustainable and unfair,” Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement. “Middle-class Minnesotans in particular are being crushed by the heavy burden of these costs. There is a clear and urgent need for reform to protect Minnesota consumers who purchase their own health insurance.”
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Minnesota will let the health insurers in its Obamacare market raise rates by at least 50 percent next year, after the individual market there came to the brink of collapse, the state’s commerce commissioner said Friday.
The increases range from 50 percent to 67 percent, Commissioner Mike Rothman’s office said in a statement. Rothman, who regulates the state’s insurers, is an appointee under Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat. The rate hike follows increases for this year of 14 percent to 49 percent.
“It’s in an emergency situation — we worked hard and avoided a collapse.” Rothman said in a telephone interview. “It’s a stopgap for 2017.”
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When Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey announced recently that it’s $46 million in debt and shutting down, it became the 17th failed ObamaCare co-op since the Affordable Care Act launched three years ago.
Those failures – just six of the original 23 co-ops remain – have left hundreds of thousands of people scrambling for coverage.
Meanwhile, insurers claiming big losses are leaving some state exchanges — including Indiana University Health Plans, whose exit is expected to result in 27,000 Indiana residents losing ObamaCare plans in 2017. And companies still operating in the federal and state exchanges are raising premiums for next year.
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Based on rate increases proposed to North Carolina’s Department of Insurance, state residents who have signed up for Obamacare could face a 19 percent to 25 percent jump in the cost of their health coverage for 2017, Republican Sen. Richard Burr says.
Further, because major health insurers have suffered losses and are exiting the program, in 90 percent of North Carolina counties, residents enrolled in President Barack Obama’s signature health care program will only have one plan from which to choose in their so-called marketplace, Burr wrote in an op ed published in the online North State Journal.
Residents who buy their health insurance themselves will pay 20 percent more on average next year, and, for the first time, residents in 14 counties will have the choice of only one carrier offering plans in their area via the state health insurance exchange.
The increases are the largest in Colorado since the 2014 launch of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. In some parts of rural Colorado, premium increases will top 40 percent, according to figures approved Tuesday by the Colorado Division of Insurance. However, tax credits for low-income residents will help blunt the impact of some of those increases, with consumers who currently receive the credits in line to see an average decrease of 11 percent in their premiums.
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A new Urban Institute report claims premiums for plans sold in ObamaCare’s health-insurance Exchanges are lower than comparable premiums for employer-sponsored health plans. Unfortunately, Urban scholars used sleight of hand to hide the full premiums for ACA plans. Incorporating the full premiums shows Exchange plans are more expensive.
The study’s authors used the premiums that HealthCare.gov and state-run Exchange web sites quote prospective enrollees. Yet those quotes do not reflect the full premium for Exchange plans.
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The Census Bureau had plenty of good news on Tuesday, including a headline-making, a 1.2 percentage point decline in the number of people living in poverty and a 1.3 percent drop in the number of Americans without health insurance.
“This is the first time in a long time where we’ve had that kind of trifecta in the numbers,” said Arloc Sherman, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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Prices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance rose the most last month since 1984. The price increases come amid a broader debate about climbing health care costs and high premiums for Obamacare coverage.
A recent report by Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits forecasts that the average family health care plan will cost $18,142, up 3.4% from 2015. That’s faster than wage growth in America.
Medical care costs altogether rose 1% just in August from July, according to the Consumer Price Index, a report on price inflation from the U.S. Labor Department.
Premiums on the Obamacare exchanges are expected to rise by double-digits this year.
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