Huge Obamacare Price Increases Looming

The Democrats knew what they were doing when they deferred the implementation of most provisions of Obamacare until after the 2012 election. What is surprising, really, is that Obamacare has been so unpopular, given that most of its baleful effects have not yet been felt. But it won’t be long now. The Associated Press reports that health insurers are warning of massive price increases beginning next year:

Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul law expands coverage to millions of people.

The nation’s big health insurers say they expect premiums — or the cost for insurance coverage — to rise from 20 to 100 percent for millions of people due to changes that will occur when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out in January 2014.

The price increases come from multiple provisions of Obamacare, and the effect will be uneven depending on a variety of factors. But the basic equation is simple: Obamacare mandates that more people be covered, and that coverages be broadened. So obviously, costs are going to increase. Taxes will rise, too, to pay for the portion of the increased cost that falls to the public.

Obamacare requires insurance carriers to subsidize various favored demographic groups:

In many states, insurers charge a 60-year-old customer $5 in premiums for every $1 they collect from a 24-year-old. The logic behind that is that older people use health care more and generate more expensive claims than younger customers, so insurers need to collect more to help pay their bills.

But the overhaul will narrow that ratio to 3-to-1. That alone could cause the premium for a 24-year-old who pays $1,200 annually to jump to $1,800, according to AHIP. Meanwhile, the 60-year-old who currently pays $6,000 will see a 10 percent drop in price.

Gender also can be a factor in whether premiums go up or down. The law will prohibit insurers from setting different rates based on gender — something they currently do because women generally use more health care. That means premiums for some men could rise, while they fall for women.

Prices also may change depending on a person’s current coverage. Many policies on the individual market (coverage not sold through employers) exclude maternity coverage, but that will be considered an essential health benefit under the overhaul. That could mean higher prices for some.

Vikki Swanson, 49, of Newport Beach, Calif., resents that the added benefit may lead to higher costs for her. “I had a hysterectomy, I have no need for maternity coverage, but I have to now pay for it,” she said. …

“I have to pay not only my own premium but I have to subsidize everybody else,” she said.

That is, in large part, the point.

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