Healthcare insurers reportedly have asked for premium increases to pay for extra benefits and compliance costs required under the Obama administration's healthcare law.
Many carriers also are seeking additional rate increases because of rising medical costs, which could leave consumers paying more than a 20 percent increase for insurance, The Wall Street Journal reports. Though most increases apply to policies written after Oct. 1, higher rates may also apply if the insured modify their existing plans.
Most of the increases are for policies issued to individuals and small businesses, not people covered by a big employer or by Medicare.
U.S. Census Bureau figures show that about 9 percent of Americans buy coverage through the individual market. Figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that about one-fifth of people who get coverage through their employer work for companies with 50 or fewer employees.
Aetna Insurance is seeking rate increases for new individual plans of 5.4 percent to 7.4 percent in California and 5.5 percent to 6.8 percent in Nevada to begin Oct. 1, increases that don't include those the insurer may also be seeking because of general medical inflation. The company plans similar hikes in states throughout the country.
The cost of providing additional benefits under the health law will account on average for 3.4 percentage points of a 17.1 percent premium rise for a small-employer health plan offered by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon.
Celtic Insurance Co. says that half of the 18 percent increase the company is seeking in Wisconsin and North Carolina comes from compliance costs the health law mandates.
ABC News reports that workers are paying 14 percent more for their employer-sponsored plans than they did last year, according to a new survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.
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