Today’s ND Republican news

The North Dakota GOP just sent out this news release:

A Wall Street Journal report published Sept. 7 reaffirmed the findings of cost estimates on the new federal health care law put out by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Dakota and the North Dakota Industry, Business and Labor Committee. The article cited health insurers in several states indicating that planned increases in their premiums are directly attributable to the costs of Obamacare.
 
Excerpts from the article are below.
 
Health Insurers Plan Hikes
By Janet Adamy (Wall Street Journal)
September 7, 2010
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703720004575478200948908976.html?mod=rss_Health
 
“Health insurers say they plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul in coming weeks, complicating Democrats’ efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before the midterm elections.
 
Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators.
 
These and other insurers say Congress’s landmark refashioning of U.S. health coverage, which passed in March after a brutal fight, is causing them to pass on more costs to consumers than Democrats predicted.
 
The rate increases largely apply to policies for individuals and small businesses and don’t include people covered by a big employer or Medicare.
 
About 9% of Americans buy coverage through the individual market, according to the Census Bureau, and roughly one-fifth of people who get coverage through their employer work at companies with 50 or fewer employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. People in both groups are likely to feel the effects of the proposed increases, even as they see new benefits under the law, such as the elimination of lifetime and certain annual coverage caps.
 
….
 
The rate increases are a dose of troubling news for Democrats just weeks before an election in which they are at risk of losing their majority in the House and possibly the Senate.
 
In addition to pledging that the law would restrain increases in Americans’ insurance premiums, Democrats front-loaded the legislation with early provisions they hoped would boost public support. Those include letting children stay on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26, eliminating co-payments for preventive care and barring insurers from denying policies to children with pre-existing conditions, plus the elimination of the coverage caps.
 
Weeks before the election, insurance companies began telling state regulators it is those very provisions that are forcing them to increase their rates.
 
Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, said the extra benefits forced it to seek rate increases for new individual plans of 5.4% to 7.4% in California and 5.5% to 6.8% in Nevada after Sept. 23. Similar steps are planned across the country, according to Aetna.
 
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon said the cost of providing additional benefits under the health law will account on average for 3.4 percentage points of a 17.1% premium rise for a small-employer health plan. It asked regulators last month to approve the increase.
 
In Wisconsin and North Carolina, Celtic Insurance Co. says half of the 18% increase it is seeking comes from complying with health-law mandates.
 
….
 
The industry contends its increases are justified. “Anytime you add a benefit, there are increased costs,” said Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s lobbying group. ….”

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