Friday, September 6, 2013

Obamacare Expected To Cause 80-Percent Spike In Average Individual Premiums

Carolina Journal News Reports

Obamacare Expected To Cause 80-Percent Spike In Average Individual Premiums

BCBSNC says one-third of health policy holders will pay much more despite tax credits

By Dan Way
Sep. 6th, 2013

RALEIGH — Individual health insurance premiums in North Carolina would spike as much as 80 percent on average due to the effects of Obamacare mandates if plans submitted by Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina receive federal approval as expected.

Younger, healthy consumers representing one-third of individual policy holders would bear disproportionately “substantial increases” to offset the costs of insuring older, less healthy populations and the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, BCBSNC officials acknowledged. 

The 80-percent average increase comes from comparing the 2014 rates for the lowest-cost “bronze” Obamacare plans announced Thursday by BCBSNC to a statewide average of current individual-policy premiums compiled by the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research, a New York-based nonprofit research organization. Manhattan researchers used data from the federal government to compile their low-cost 2013 premium averages for each state. They calculated the lowest-available rates for different age groups and for policies offering different levels of coverage. (Methodology explained here.)

When the federal health law takes effect Jan. 1, individuals will be required to purchase an insurance policy approved by the federal government or pay a fine to the IRS. The maximum penalty per adult will be $95 in 2014 and will rise to $695 in 2016.

BCBSNC, which controls 85 percent of the state’s individual health insurance market, announced a sampling of its 26 new plans crafted for sale in all 100 counties on the federal health exchange marketplace. 

“We know that the premiums that Blue Cross and Blue Shield released [Thursday] are definitely increasing across the spectrum of all ages,” said Katherine Restrepo, health and human services policy analyst at the John Locke Foundation. “It’s not looking too good.”

CONTINUED:  Obamacare Expected To Cause 80-Percent Spike In Average Individual Premiums

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