Topics: Barack Obama

Indiana says Obamacare will hike premiums by 72 percent

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Hoosiers attempting to purchase health insurance on their own will be facing a 72 percent premium hike once President Obama’s health care law kicks in next year, according to Indiana insurance regulators.

The Indianapolis Star reports:

The spike in costs is due primarily to new mandates under the law, which requires insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions and to offer a minimum level of benefits, said Logan Harrison, chief deputy commissioner with the Indiana Department of Insurance under Republican Gov. Mike Pence. New taxes and fees under the law also contributed, Harrison said.

“This new data regrettably confirms the negative impact of the Affordable Care Act on the insurance market in Indiana,” he said. “The Affordable Care Act requires many Hoosiers to purchase more comprehensive and more expensive health insurance than they may want or need. These rates call into question just how affordable health insurance will really be for many Hoosiers.”

Costs for individual plans is expected to increase from an average of $255 per member per month in 2012 to $570 in 2014, when the most aspects of the law go into effect.

Last month, Ohio announced that Obamacare will hike individual market premiums in the state by 88 percent. In contrast, New York claimed this week that the state would see premiums fall by 50 percent under Obamacare.

As more states have released data on expected premiums, there’s been a divide among Republican and Democratic controlled states, with Democratic states expressing optimism and Republican states anticipating negative consequences.

A big part of this has to do with the existing regulatory environments. As I explained, New York is already one of the most highly-regulated states in the country, so it’s quite possible that the health care law will lower premiums (though probably not by 50 percent). But in states with freer markets, the imposition of new requirements will drive up prices.

At the same time, percentage change calculations are highly dependent on which two numbers are being compared. So, there is wiggle room for state officials to compare numbers that make the changes seem better or worse, depending on the state’s position on Obamacare.

Fluctuations in premiums are going to be an ongoing source of debate between supporters and critics of Obamacare. But ultimately, the law will rise or fall based on whether rates are low enough to attract enough young and healthy Americans into the insurance pool to offset the costs of covering older and sicker Americans, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.

 

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