Recently I interviewed Rod St. Aubyn from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, our state’s largest health insurance provider, about the impact of Obamacare on insurance premiums. Mr. St. Aubyn noted that the impact on group insurance policies, over the course of Obamacare’s implementation, would be a 15% price inflation. The impact on individually-held insurance policies would be even worse, doubling over the course of implementation according to the company’s rough estimates.
To be fair, those estimates are based on a lot of assumptions about a law that is not yet fully implemented, but they do match up with the results of a study by American Health Insurance Plans into the impact of Obamacare on health insurance premiums. They’re projecting significant increases in health insurance costs caused by the laws officially known as the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare “imposes a new sales tax on health insurance that starts at $8 billion in 2014, increase to $14.3 billion in 2018, and will continue to increase each year,” AHIP explains to introduce the study on the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). Although the government taxes the health insurance providers, the Congressional Budget Office acknowledged in 2009 that the cost “would be passed on to purchasers and would ultimately raise insurance premiums by a corresponding amount.”
The AHIP study predicts that, on average, individuals buying insurance outside a company policy will pay an extra $2,171 over 10 years, or $5,140 over ten years if they buy a family plan. Employees at small businesses that do not self-insure will see their premiums rise $2,794 for individual plans and $6,883 for family policies. If you work for a large company your premiums will rise $2,636 for an individual policy, compared to $7,186 for a family policy.
Remember, Obamacare was supposed to make health insurance and health care cheaper and more accessible. But so far we’ve got a tax on devices used in medical care, and a tax on health insurance policies. How do such things make insurance and care cheaper?
The truth is they don’t.