By Jim Angle, ,
Published December 20, 2015
A recent survey of 148 insurance brokers shows that ObamaCare is sending premiums rising at the fastest clip in decades.
"For the last, about, five years they've been doing this survey, so this was the largest percentage increase in any quarter since they've been doing (it)," said Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute.
"But at 12 percent, 11 percent increase on average across all the states -- that puts it at the upper end of any increase we've seen for decades."
That is the national average in a survey done by Morgan Stanley. But in some states, it found rates are soaring.
"There are specific states with exorbitant increases," Gottlieb said. "Delaware had 100 percent increase, Florida had a 37 percent increase, Pennsylvania 28 percent increase, California had a 53 percent increase in their premiums."
Rates vary widely, often depending on the state and how highly regulated it was to begin with. Analysts, however, say the main reasons for the higher costs are not medical inflation, but rather the requirements of ObamaCare itself.
"There are certain regulations and certain requirements that had to be in there. And because of that it's driven up the costs of these benefits," said John DiVito of the Flexible Benefit Service Corporation, which represents hundreds of agents.Rate hikes include ten essential health benefits along with more than 20,000 pages or regulations.
The reported hikes are for the first policies issued under ObamaCare in 2014.
The Congressional Budget Office or CBO issued a report Monday saying the average premium for the silver plan this year will be $3,800, or just over $300 a month, rising to $4,400 in 2016, 15 percent below its earlier estimates in 2009.
Those early, higher estimates make costs now look better – but that does not include deductibles of as much as $5,000.
But the estimates are comforting to the White House.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says, "It shows that marketplace health care costs have gone down because premium estimates have gone down."
The CBO also projects future premium increases over the next decade.
Insurance companies will soon have to set rates for 2015, and analysts fear reported higher costs now will mean increases next year, as well.
"They're going to see an announcement that next year's premium's going to be 25 percent or maybe 50 percent higher than what they're now paying," says John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
John Divito of Flexible Benefit Service Corporation said, "we're reading studies where the rates could be 10 to 30, 40 percent higher. Again, it all depends geographically where these rates are being looked at but definitely an increase in rates."
Scott Gottlieb, a medical doctor as well as an analyst, added, "We've seen insurance premiums go up quite a bit over the period in which ObamaCare started to get implemented."
Insurance executives say the same thing. Marc Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, recently told an earning conference that he anticipates 2014 spikes of 20 to 50 percent, going as high as 100 percent in some markets.