Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act as it is officially known, was supposed to make health insurance cheaper and easier to get. But thanks to a raft of new regulations, taxes and mandates put in place by the law insurance premiums are increasing faster than before the law.
And small business owners, as well as individuals who purchase their own health insurance (such as this humble blogger) are the hardest hit:
Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.
In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.
In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month.
The proposed increases compare with about 4 percent for families with employer-based policies.
Back in November I interviewed a spokesman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, and he intimated that North Dakotans will likely be on the hook for similar premium hikes. The estimate for individual health insurance policies is a 75% – 100% increase, as well as a 15% increase for group policy holders.
The reaction, from some quarters, will be to blame greedy insurance companies for these rate hikes. But let’s remember that Obamacare mandates a greatly expanded sort of coverage. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people who are already sick. Insurance companies must also cover many things that weren’t traditionally covered on many plans such as vision, dental and contraception.
Like these areas of coverage or not, nothing is without cost. Mandated expanded coverage means higher prices. What Obamacare has done is remove the ability of those purchasing insurance to save money by being more flexible with what they do and do not want covered.
And the big lie was, they called this the Affordable Care Act. Nothing could be further from the truth.