- A growing number of insurers are seeking premium increases in the 2017 ACA exchange market, a sign for some that Obamacare isn’t the answer to rising health costs.
- In Texas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas wants to raise rates by about 60% for its 603,000 individual policyholders, The New York Times reported.
- That announcement followed one by North Carolina’s largest carrier that it would request an 18.8% increase.
According to a nine-state analysis by Avalere Health, premium increases for the most popular kind of plan varied widely, from 5% in Washington state to 44% in Vermont.
While income-based subsidies can cover up to 70% of premiums, many — including some self-employed individuals and small business owners — won't qualify and will feel the full brunt of the price hike.
Texas Blue Cross said it lost $592 million in 2015 and $416 million in 2014. It is seeking increases ranging from 573% to 59.4% across the state. The state’s insurance department must approve the request.
A separate analysis by McKinsey & Co., released last week found aggregate losses for 2015 more than doubled from the previous year, leaving insurers with post-tax margins between -9% and -12%.
The Obama administration has downplayed concerns about 2017 premiums. According to the Times, HHS issued a statement saying consumers will have lower premium options in Texas and elsewhere when the 2017 enrollment period opens Nov. 1.