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Insurers Fear Backlash Over O-Care Rate Hikes

From Reuters:

U.S. insurers fear backlash over new Obamacare rate increases

By Caroline Humer and David Morgan | April 1, 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the first Obamacare enrollment period comes to a close, U.S. insurers are already anticipating the need to raise prices for 2015 and fear that it will put them at the center of the political blame game over President Barack Obama’s healthcare law…

But insurers have already said that the first group of new enrollees under Obamacare, as the law is widely known, represent a higher rate of older and costlier members than hoped. To keep their health plans from losing money in the coming years, many expect monthly premium rates to rise by double-digit percentages in some parts of the country.

In fact, most say their rates will double. Some say they will triple. But Reuters disguises that detail with "double-digit percentages." Which isn’t not even mathematically correct, since doubling involves a three digit percentage.

That could set the stage for a public outcry ahead of congressional elections this year, giving ammunition to Republicans and creating new friction with the White House that could endure into the 2016 presidential election…

And we can’t let the Republicans have any ammo.

David Cordani, CEO of insurer Cigna, said his company has raised the issue of potential rate increases with the Obama administration and has suggestions for changes to the program that could help mitigate sharp spikes, including providing new lower-cost options to consumers and giving them a greater choice over which health benefits are covered.

These evil insurance companies are not going to be able to change a thing. They are going to be told to keep the rates where they are, at least until after November 2016. Which will force a lot of them to go out of business. Or, they will have to jack up the rates for all of their non-Obama-Care plans. Which will eventually drive them out of business, too. Either way, the end game is the same.

If insurance companies want to survive, they had better wise up quick. And they had better start shouting from the roof-tops about how much they are going to have to raise their rates, including premiums and deductibles and co-pays, before the 2014 mid-terms. If they wait, they are going to caught in the death spiral they all feared. And they will be dead ducks. And they will have only themselves to blame.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the proportion of old and young customers in the exchanges will not keep the exchanges from working well or trouble insurers. "We already know that breakdown is sufficient to ensure that the marketplaces will effectively function, that issuers will feel comfortable with the demographics," he said…

Well if Jay Carney says everything will be all right, then everything will be all right.

But U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a prominent Republican critic of Obamacare, said the skew of enrollment towards older consumers who are more likely to be sick is one of the program’s fundamental flaws and proof it should be changed or even repealed.

While he said insurers may have no choice but to raise prices to prevent major losses, he opposes provisions in the law that provides funding to the industry in the next few years to offset such risks.

What? He’s against bailing out the insurance companies? We thought the evil Republicans loved insurance companies.

"I think what they should be more concerned about is that once the exchanges fail and once this happens, that the argument that might come from the administration would be ‘well, the reason this is happening is the greedy insurance companies want to make more money’ as opposed to these companies are simply pricing out what it is they are getting," Rubio told the Reuters Health Summit.

"I would say to you that many of these companies were willing participants in all of this. Many of them supported the law, thinking it was going to force more customers in their direction. It’s not turning out the way they planned," he added. "I’m not sure that taxpayers should be involved in paying for it." …

But they will be, don’t worry.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Insurers Fear Backlash Over O-Care Rate Hikes”

  1. mr_bill

    David Cordani, CEO of insurer Cigna, said his company has raised the issue of potential rate increases with the Obama administration and has suggestions for changes to the program that could help mitigate sharp spikes, including providing new lower-cost options to consumers and giving them a greater choice over which health benefits are covered.

    Hmmm…insurers meeting with government regulators to determine how to decrease the amount of care provided to customers. Might they decide to give granny a pain pill rather than a pacemaker? Nah, there are no “death panels.” That won’t ever happen here.™

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I once worked for Cigna in Phoenix. You couldn’t find a larger bunch of groub-think/socialism addicts on the planet.

      All I did was answer the phone and make appointments but the nurses there, largely a collection of feminazi bull-dykes, would get mad that I was “playing doctor” and not minding my lowly station in the company by simply acknowledging that the person on the phone is sick and needed to make an appointment.

      Very concerned that I didn’t just operate like a cubicle monkey and not engage in conversation with the patient.

      I finally had it out with one “nurse” who really hated men. I called her every name in the book and told her that the company would do well to just be rid of her and her snotty sh*tty attitude towards me.

      However, I left of my own accord and probably to their great pleasure. Whenever they would get on the phone with the patient, their rudeness and obnoxious tone came across loud and clear. Oddly, in a later job…it provided Cigna healthcare as my insurance provider….whereupon I ran into that piece of work again, but as a patient. I scolded her again in public and really let her have it and told her to stay the hell away from me or I would contact the authorities. Cigna apologized for her and I would hear none of it.

      They are dysfunctional and have embraced trans-confused-gendered everything and it shows. They will be out of business or….they will be the premier “caregiver” when the government goes single payer. Look for it in 2015.

    • mr_bill

      Sorry to hear that they were such an abysmal employer. Fortunately, you were able to get away from them. Hope they’re not still your insurance provider. Some outfits are just that way and they seem to gather malignant employees like the nurse you described. I’ve worked at a couple places like that: poor management, ineffective staff, angry vendors and customers. They eventually succumb to their organizational ineptness, although sometimes it takes far too long.




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