Filings Show Obamacare Premium Rises to Outpace Inflation

Monday, 12 May 2014 09:07 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Consumers enrolled in Obamacare will see an increase in their insurance premium rates next year that will "easily" outpace inflation, with every insurer in at least one state opting for rate increases, The Wall Street Journal reported.
 
According to official filings by insurance companies in Virginia for 2015, average rate increases range from 3.3 percent to as high as 16.6 percent for those enrolled in the online exchange, depending on the type of plan a consumer holds.

The rate increases are directly related to the new costs insurers face under the Affordable Care Act due to the higher expense of insuring less healthy, previously uninsured enrollees, and also because of the new fees insurers are facing under the new healthcare law, one company, Anthem HealthKeepers Inc., told the Journal.

Virginia is the first state to publicly release rate proposals for 2015, with other states expected to follow as early as this week, according to the Journal. In most parts of the country, figures will not be available until late summer.

In 2014, insurers participating in Obamacare were required to charge the same premium to all customers, regardless of medical history, and were restricted to the amount they could vary premiums by age, with strict limitations to out-of-pocket maximums.

Predictions of rate increases have varied widely, but the projections for Virginia fall short of some expectations. Speculation nevertheless continues about the rise of future premiums under the new healthcare law.

Administration officials, including outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, have long said they expect rates to increase but believed provisions in the legislation designed to compensate insurers with higher medical claims would hold down rate increases.

Virginia is one of the 36 states participating in the federal online insurance exchange through HealthCare.gov, and the Obama administration has estimated that 216,000 Virginians enrolled in the exchange by the March 31 deadline, the Journal reported.

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