It would be difficult to come up with a less sympathetic subject for a column than a health insurance company unless it’s an airline (more on that later).
During the days before passage of Obamacare, health insurance companies were some of the bill’s most prominent supporters. They foolishly traded away a semi-free market in exchange for a government-controlled market that guaranteed the companies a larger insured base and more revenue.
Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates around the country were equally guilty of this short-sighted accommodation, but it now appears that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is experiencing sellout’s remorse.
Next year will see Americans hit with a wave of Obamacare fees and tax increases that will directly affect the cost of health insurance and the amount of tax many of us pay next year.
According to Kaiser Health News, the majority of companies are meekly adding the Obamacare increases to the final cost of a policy without explanation and preparing to accept subsequent consumer complaints. But BCBS Alabama is not. Before the total policy cost there is a line item that lists “Affordable Care Act (the official and officially misleading name for Obamacare) Fees and Taxes.”
The KHN found one customer whose bill increased $23.14 each month or $277.68 yearly. The monthly premium jumped from $322.26 to $345.40, representing a total increase of 7 percent from Obamacare alone. These fees include 2 percent on every health plan, a $2 policy fee that is funneled into a slush fund called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the insurance companies are charged a 3.5 percent fee for the privilege of selling their wares on the fantastically incompetent "HealthCare.dud" website.
Although I think BCBS Alabama’s disclosure is an excellent idea, don’t look for the rest of the insurance sheep to follow. Earlier this year Spirit Airlines (the other unsympathetic subject) was outraged by a government demand that forced airlines to reprogram their websites to conceal federal fees and taxes in the total price of the ticket.
Just to make sure consumers didn’t overlook this unprecedented rule, Spirit added a $2 per ticket charge the airline called the “Department of Transportation unintended consequences fee.” Naturally DOT criticized the Spirit immediately and no other airlines followed its lead.
So it will be interesting to see if other health insurance companies start itemizing Obamacare costs or if they continue to bleat in the Sebelius pasture.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.