Health Insurers Request Premium Increases, Cite Health Reform Law
Several large health insurers and other smaller companies have said they intend to raise premiums for some U.S. residents as a result of the federal health reform law, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Aetna and some BlueCross BlueShield plans have requested premium increases of between 1% and 9% to fund additional benefits outlined in the overhaul, noting that the law has prompted them to shift more costs to consumers than lawmakers initially anticipated.
Combined with increases the insurers say are needed to cover rising medical costs, premium increases for some insurers could total more than 20%.
A majority of the rate increases would apply to individual and small-business policies, the Journal reports.
Approximately 9% of U.S. residents purchase coverage through the individual market, while about 20% of individuals carrying employer-provided coverage work for companies with fewer than 50 employees.
The increases would apply to plans purchased after Oct. 1, but consumers who change their existing plans also could be subject to higher premiums.
The rate increases could hinder Democratic midterm election campaigns because many candidates pledged that the overhaul would control rising premiums.
However, Obama administration officials have contended that insurers are using the health reform law as an excuse to raise premiums and expect many state regulators to reject such requests (Adamy, Wall Street Journal, 9/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.