Health insurance rates may skyrocket for consumers and businesses if the current legislation pending in the Senate becomes law, writes Robert Lenzner.
In his column in Forbes magazine, the financial journalist and former manager of risk arbitrage at Oppenheimer & Co., indicates that the Senate health care reform bill will be something of “a free ride” for the health insurance industry until 2014, the earliest date it will be law.
“It provides no expanded health coverage and only a very watered-down public option, if any — but not now, not until four years from now,” writes Lenzner.
“The health networks where companies will compete to attract new enrollees will not actually be up and running until 2014, compared to 2013 in the House bill.”
This means that insurance carriers like CIGNA, Humana, Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, WellPoint will have four more annual enrollment periods to sign up the 31 million people who are not covered by any insurance, at this time, writes Lenzner.
“The delay means four more years in which the giants can raise their premiums before reform takes place,” writes Lenzner.
“Already in 2009, there have been premium hikes of 8 percent to 10 percent from some companies.
A troubling 238-page study by WellPoint shows that premiums could triple for small businesses.”
And that's rates for the employed, never mind the millions of Americans with no access to employer-based insurance because they don't have jobs.
Harvard economist Ken Rogoff, former Economic Counselor and Director of Research Department for the International Monetary Fund, sees more headwind ahead.
"It's hard to see the kind of robust recovery that's really going to generate the 10, 11 million jobs that we need to get back to where we were before it started," Rogoff told Tech Ticker.
A glance at the U.S. economy feels very déjà vu now, Rogoff says.
“Can I tell you what month the stock market is going to go up and what month it’s going to go down? No. But the broad contours are really eerily similar to the average of past post-war crises.”
“It’s different than a normal recession in that it’s all more drawn out.”
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