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Posted: 9/8/2010 5:01:13 AM EDT
Dear President Obama,

Thank you very much for increasing my cost of living, yet again.




http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748703720004575478200948908976.html

Health Insurers Plan Hikes
Rate Increases Are Blamed on Health-Care Overhaul; White House Questions Logic

By JANET ADAMY

Health insurers say they plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul in coming weeks, complicating Democrats' efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before the midterm elections.

Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators.

These and other insurers say Congress's landmark refashioning of U.S. health coverage, which passed in March after a brutal fight, is causing them to pass on more costs to consumers than Democrats predicted.

The rate increases largely apply to policies for individuals and small businesses and don't include people covered by a big employer or Medicare.

About 9% of Americans buy coverage through the individual market, according to the Census Bureau, and roughly one-fifth of people who get coverage through their employer work at companies with 50 or fewer employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. People in both groups are likely to feel the effects of the proposed increases, even as they see new benefits under the law, such as the elimination of lifetime and certain annual coverage caps.

Many carriers also are seeking additional rate increases they say they need to cover rising medical costs. As a result, some consumers could face total premium increases of more than 20%.

While the increases apply mostly to the new policies insurers write after Oct. 1, consumers could be subject to the higher rates if they modify their existing plans and cause them to lose grandfathered status.

The rate increases are a dose of troubling news for Democrats just weeks before an election in which they are at risk of losing their majority in the House and possibly the Senate.

In addition to pledging that the law would restrain increases in Americans' insurance premiums, Democrats front-loaded the legislation with early provisions they hoped would boost public support. Those include letting children stay on their parents' insurance policies until age 26, eliminating co-payments for preventive care and barring insurers from denying policies to children with pre-existing conditions, plus the elimination of the coverage caps.

Weeks before the election, insurance companies began telling state regulators it is those very provisions that are forcing them to increase their rates.

Aetna, one of the nation's largest health insurers, said the extra benefits forced it to seek rate increases for new individual plans of 5.4% to 7.4% in California and 5.5% to 6.8% in Nevada after Sept. 23. Similar steps are planned across the country, according to Aetna.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon said the cost of providing additional benefits under the health law will account on average for 3.4 percentage points of a 17.1% premium rise for a small-employer health plan. It asked regulators last month to approve the increase.

In Wisconsin and North Carolina, Celtic Insurance Co. says half of the 18% increase it is seeking comes from complying with health-law mandates.

The White House says insurers are using the law as an excuse to raise rates and predicts that state regulators will block some of the large increases. "I would have real deep concerns that the kinds of rate increases that you're quoting... are justified," said Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House's top health official. She said that for insurers, raising rates was "already their modus operandi before the bill" passed. "We believe consumers will see through this," she said.

Previously the administration had calculated that the batch of changes taking effect this fall would raise premiums no more than 1% to 2%, on average.

The industry contends its increases are justified. "Anytime you add a benefit, there are increased costs," said Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's lobbying group.

Massachusetts, which enacted universal insurance coverage several years ago, also has seen steadily rising insurance premiums since then. Proponents of that plan attribute the hikes there to an overall increase in medical costs, while insurers cite it as a cautionary example of what can happen when new mandates to improve benefits aren't coupled with a strong enough provision to force healthy people to buy coverage.

Republicans, who have sought voter support by opposing the health law, say premium increases could help in November's congressional races. "People are finding out what's in [the law], they don't like it, and I think it's going to play a big factor in this election," said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

About half of all states have the power to deny rate increases. Ms. DeParle pointed out that the law awards states $250 million to bolster their scrutiny of insurance-rate proposals, saying that will eventually curb premiums for people.

"In Kansas, I don't have a lot of authority to deny a rate increase, if it is justified," said Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. She recently approved a 4% increase by Mennonite Mutual Aid Association to pay for the new provisions.

The process of reviewing rate increases varies by state. For instance, Ms. Praeger said she can deny only rate increases that are unreasonable or discriminatory.

Some regulators say not all insurers have adequately justified their increases. "A lot of it is guesswork for companies," said Tom Abel, supervisor at the Colorado Division of Insurance. "I was anticipating the carriers to be more uniform."

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, which estimates its increase covers 57,000 members, said its goal is to "anticipate the financial needs of our members as accurately as possible and to collect just enough premiums to cover costs," said a spokeswoman. Other insurers offered similar explanations or declined to discuss their increases.

A small number of insurers have submitted plans to lower rates and cite the new mandates in the legislation as the reason. HMO Colorado, a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan owned by WellPoint Inc., wrote to state regulators saying small group rates would fall 1.8% starting Oct. 1 because of changes from the law.

Democrats had hoped to sell the bill in the fall elections. But in recent weeks, some Democrats who voted for the bill have shied away from advertising that fact, while the handful of House Democrats who cast "no" votes see it as a potential boost to their re-election bids.

Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:02:35 AM EDT
Bitch slapped by the invisible hand
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:03:06 AM EDT
I am so suprised.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:07:45 AM EDT
Politico: Dems prefer to forget about that whole health care reform thing

At least five of the 34 House Democrats who voted against their party’s health care reform bill are highlighting their “no” votes in ads back home. By contrast, party officials in Washington can’t identify a single House member who’s running an ad boasting of a “yes” vote — despite the fact that 219 House Democrats voted in favor of final passage in March.

One Democratic strategist said it would be “political malfeasance” to run such an ad now.

Democrats have taken that advice to heart; it appears that no Democratic incumbent — in the House or in the Senate — has run a pro-reform TV ad since April, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ran one.


Too unpopular in even the bluest of the blue districts.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:12:35 AM EDT
Everyone should have seen this coming.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:12:46 AM EDT
Anyone who actually pays for their own insurance has already seen the increase and it is way more than 1-9%. Premiums are going up around 20-30% and the quality of the coverage is going down. Here in Texas one of the teachers funds is having to drop coverage for pregnancy.

The reason is that employers will have to be locked in to a insurance program this year as well as all the other mandates, and only the whitehouse would be crazy enough to say it was not their fault.

obama lies.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:12:50 AM EDT
OH MY GOD, THE OBAMAASSHOLEMOTHERFUCKINGCHEESEDICKFUCKSTAIN LIED?? say it ain't so!
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:13:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 5:13:55 AM EDT by Dawg180]
Democrats: "Additional services cost money??? No way!!"






This is what happens when people who don't understand basic economics are in charge.





Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:20:00 AM EDT
Obama is the best president we ever had and he doesn't lie.

Just ask the guys over at the birther thread.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:23:12 AM EDT
Shock face:
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:26:22 AM EDT
For companies to be forced to insure the formally un-insurable has consequences. No PHD needed to figure that one out.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:32:54 AM EDT
If it doesn't get repealed 2012 will go to the President who vows to kill it.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:37:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Steve_T_M:
Bitch slapped by the invisible hand


Absolutely.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:43:33 AM EDT
>>>>>> is my shocked face.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:48:49 AM EDT
they will spin this and blame the "evil corporations" and use it as a reason why THEY need to control health care totally.


GR
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:50:45 AM EDT
This is just great, my family is already fucked and with everything coming down the pipe.... Fuck just fuck
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:51:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 5:53:52 AM EDT by Crowkiller]
Does anyone really think this was not planned and expected?

A few years from now, we will be hearing that the insurance companies were given a chance, and they raised prices irresponsibly. Now, a single payer government run plan is the only solution to healthcare. It has been the plan the whole time since they could not pass it all at once.

It will be played as capitalism failing, and government intervention being the solution.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:52:38 AM EDT
Also just released: Form 8941: Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums (Draft)

AKA: yet another stinking tax form businesses must file, thank you BHO!
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:52:55 AM EDT
Lesse... force insurance companies to:

Cover the formerly uninsurable
Remove coverage caps
Mandate increased coverage and services
Cover children until they're well into adulthood
Eliminate copays


Does that about cover it?

And economically-ignorant Democrats are shocked... SHOCKED, I tell you!!... to find insurance companies trying to make up that loss somewhere?

Well.

Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:57:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Steve_T_M:
Bitch slapped by the invisible hand


I'm Adam Smith bitch.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:59:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 5:59:58 AM EDT by DragoMuseveni]
Is it wrong for me to smile as this is perfect timing for the election?
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:00:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By TexasDoubleTap:
If it doesn't get repealed 2012 will go to the President who vows to kill it.


This.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:02:25 AM EDT
Surprised, I am not.

Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:03:19 AM EDT
Obama swore no less than 15 times that premiums would go down on an average of $2,500. Per household. I heard a montage on the Levin show. Why isn't Fox news playing him saying that 24 hours a day?
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:04:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GrIlLa:
Obama swore no less than 15 times that premiums would go down on an average of $2,500. Per household. I heard a montage on the Levin show. Why isn't Fox news playing him saying that 24 hours a day?

If they were to do that now people would forget come November. They need to save it until the week before the election.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:06:43 AM EDT
seriously, did anyone NOT see this coming?
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:11:18 AM EDT
This plays right into his hands. Can you say single payer system?


EBR666
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:23:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By GrIlLa:
Obama swore no less than 15 times that premiums would go down on an average of $2,500. Per household. I heard a montage on the Levin show. Why isn't Fox news playing him saying that 24 hours a day?


He had it wrong. Ours went UP by $2500.... Thanks for the help!
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:25:48 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Crowkiller:
Does anyone really think this was not planned and expected?

A few years from now, we will be hearing that the insurance companies were given a chance, and they raised prices irresponsibly. Now, a single payer government run plan is the only solution to healthcare. It has been the plan the whole time since they could not pass it all at once.
It will be played as capitalism failing, and government intervention being the solution.




^^^THIS x 1000


The insurance companies are acting just like the HR1 authors knew they would.

The rate increases (caused by gov. intervention) will be decried by the populace who will look to the government to "fix" the problem.

Single Payer/Public Option to the rescue.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:32:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rob78:
Originally Posted By Crowkiller:
Does anyone really think this was not planned and expected?

A few years from now, we will be hearing that the insurance companies were given a chance, and they raised prices irresponsibly. Now, a single payer government run plan is the only solution to healthcare. It has been the plan the whole time since they could not pass it all at once.
It will be played as capitalism failing, and government intervention being the solution.




^^^THIS x 1000


The insurance companies are acting just like the HR1 authors knew they would.

The rate increases (caused by gov. intervention) will be decried by the populace who will look to the government to "fix" the problem.

Single Payer/Public Option to the rescue.

x infinity.

Rates increase. Government offers lower rates, subsidized by taxes. Health care companies can't compete, fail. Government steps in, becomes the only option.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:36:16 AM EDT
TANSTAAFL
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:40:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:40:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By EBR666:
This plays right into his hands. Can you say single payer system?


EBR666

Has been the plan from the start.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:46:03 AM EDT
I got a letter from my company stating our insurance premiums are increasing 30% on Jan. 1, 2011. I knew it was coming but I was hoping for a small increase not 30% more. Starting in January I will be paying more for family coverage than I do for my mortgage. This isn't even for the top teir plan. I really can't begin to express just how pissed I really am.

The only good thing to come of this is my wife is waking up to fact that when the .gov talks about helping they're not talking about us and that just because a politician says something is a great idea doesn't make it so.

Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:48:43 AM EDT
Unpossible- we were told healthcare costs would drop and care would be orders of magnitude better.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:59:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Chas:
TANSTAAFL


Too bad we cant do to the bills authors what the loonies did to people who didnt work well in thier society.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 7:10:50 AM EDT
Several years ago, my employer stopped paying for health insurance for our spouses and families. They gave us all a one time pay increase equal to what they were paying for our coverage. Since then we have had to pay premiums out of pocket. The combination of no raises and annual double-digit insurance premium increases had made my paycheck shrink.

I was paying about $1,100.00 per month for coverage for my family up until last month. Starting this month we are on this: http://www.samaritanministries.org/

Starting in January I will be eligible for an opt-out bonus which is currently almost $400 per month which will be enough to pay our membership dues in Samaritan. I'm sure there will be a huge increase in insurance premiums come January.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 1:16:22 PM EDT
And when it all goes to hell they will blame capitalism and the free market.

Originally Posted By TheGrayMan:
Lesse... force insurance companies to:

Cover the formerly uninsurable
Remove coverage caps
Mandate increased coverage and services
Cover children until they're well into adulthood
Eliminate copays


Does that about cover it?

And economically-ignorant Democrats are shocked... SHOCKED, I tell you!!... to find insurance companies trying to make up that loss somewhere?

Well.



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