Ohioans are about to see larger health insurance costs than ever before, with insurers filing double-digit rate increase requests before several key provisions of Obamacare go into effect in 2014.
Industry watchers say federal healthcare law will drastically increase some people’s insurance costs rather than making it more affordable, and in Ohio, some people could see their rates rise drastically, reports the Dayton Daily News
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, upcoming rate increases included 11.6 percent for American Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s small group rates; 14 percent for Aetna; 38.9 percent for Celtic Insurance Co.; and 19 percent for Golden Rule Insurance, a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare.
Obamacare requires examination of health insurers who request annual rate hikes of 10 percent or more. Most of the Ohio rates that are rising are for small group and individual insurance plans.
The increases are higher for those groups because large claims can’t be spread among more participants, but insurance experts say insurers are also counting higher future costs into their calculations.
The rate requests are reviewed through the Ohio Department of Insurance, and filed throughout the year. The department said the average rate increase on individual and small group plans is still below 10 percent, and a spokesperson said that insurance rates are reflecting the rising cost of healthcare. Nationally, medical costs rise about 7-8 percent a year.
However, U.S. Health and Human Services says Obamacare helps costs by requiring insurance rate reviews that have saved $1.1 billion, and medical loss ratio rebates have returned $1 billion to businesses and consumers. The law requires insurers stick to the 80/20 rule, with at least 80 percent of premiums to be spent on healthcare and improving care.
People who are at lower risk of serious illnesses will likely need to pay more for insurance, because companies won't be able to adjust rates to cover costs brought by high-risk patients, said Chris Brock, spokesperson for the state insurance department.
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