Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Any Excuse To Screw You Over

The WSJ reports that insurance companies are quick to blame health care reform as the sole reason why they "have to" jack up insurance premiums, but K-Drum points out the disconnect.

My guess is that a couple of sentences in the Journal piece tell the story:
The rate increases largely apply to policies for individuals and small businesses and don't include people covered by a big employer or Medicare.
....Democrats front-loaded the legislation with early provisions they hoped would boost public support. Those include letting children stay on their parents' insurance policies until age 26, eliminating co-payments for preventive care and barring insurers from denying policies to children with pre-existing conditions, plus the elimination of the coverage caps. Weeks before the election, insurance companies began telling state regulators it is those very provisions that are forcing them to increase their rates.
Hmmm. Don't those provisions apply to all plans, not just individual and small-business policies? So why are insurers boosting rates only on the latter? I'm sure Aetna and Blue Cross have some extremely complicated and plausible sounding reasons for this, but I'd take them with a grain of salt. More likely they're raising rates for the same reason they've been raising rates for the past few years, and it has almost nothing to do with ACA. Caveat emptor.

And of course those reasons are that individual and small-business plans have smaller pools of insured to defray costs.  That's why health insurance exchanges were put in the legislation...but the exchanges won't be on-line until 2014 and some 15 red states are refusing to form the health insurance risk pools now.  That means insurance companies are specifically jacking up rates on individual and small-business plans now.  Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has recently decreed that all of the state's new health care provision grants must go through his office for approval which he plans to summarily reject, and that could cost Minnesota a billion dollars in health care funding.  Other 2012 hopefuls are going to follow similar tracks.

The real culprits here are Republicans refusing to follow the law.  It's leading directly to higher health insurance costs...and they're simply blaming Obama for it.  Nice work if you can get it.

Meanwhile, that money has to be made up somewhere.  Guess where?

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