Nancy said that they’d have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it, and today we find out that includes higher premiums for a lot of people:
A new study finds that insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims on individual health policies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
What does that mean for you?
It could increase premiums for at least some Americans.
If you are uninsured, or you buy your policy directly from an insurance company, you should pay attention.
Wait a minute, how is this possible? I thought Obamacare was all about “bending the cost curve down.” This kind of sounds like the opposite of that to me. What the hell could possibly make premiums go up under this wonderful, totes for realsies awesome law?
The study says claims costs will go up largely because sicker people will join the insurance pool. That’s because the law forbids insurers from turning down those with pre-existing medical problems, effective Jan. 1. Everyone gets sick sooner or later, but sicker people also use more health care services.
“Claims cost is the most important driver of health care premiums,” said Kristi Bohn, an actuary who worked on the study. Spending on sicker people and other high-cost groups will overwhelm an influx of younger, healthier people into the program, said the report.
Oh, riiiiiight. It’s that pesky supply and demand stuff that all the cool kids were apparently snoozing through in high school economics class.
While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded that the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.
The differences are big. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.
It should be pointed out that this study was put out by the Society of Actuaries. These are the dull, gray people who look at Real Melvin stuff like risk tables to determine that all of the interesting things that you do like smoking, skydiving, or having diabetes tends to have a bunch of bummer consequences in the real world, such as prolonged hospital stays, death, and–as a result of those things–higher insurance premiums.
In other words, maybe they should have consulted these people instead of the Skittle-shitting unicorns when crafting legislation that would have some serious impacts on millions of people.
Speaking of unicorns:
The Obama administration challenged the design of the study, saying it focused only on one piece of the puzzle and ignored cost relief strategies in the law, such as tax credits to help people afford premiums and special payments to insurers who attract an outsize share of the sick.
Because that money just magically comes out of nowhere. Problem solved.