Something I Expected: Health Insurers’ Requested Rate Hikes Are Way Higher Than Expected

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We were told that health care reform would result in an increase of premiums to the tune of 1% or 2%. Now, however, insurers are trying to jack up premiums by more than 20%.

Reporting from Connecticut (where insurance has a huge business presence), the Hartford Courant explains that the rise in premiums is being attributed to new government rules mandating that all policies include certain benefits—like that parents can keep their kids on their health plans until they turn 26, that all new plans must cover preventive services (i.e., checkups) without requiring a co-pay, and that policies cannot have lifetime or annual limits regarding how much they’ll cover before leaving the policyholder on their own. The paper reports that there’s a bit of a gap between what insurers say these benefits cost them, and what the government said these benefits would wind up costing consumers:

Insurers say the cost of new benefits will increase prices more than 20 percent for certain plans. But federal government officials and consumer advocates are crying foul, saying reform should raise premiums only 1 percent or 2 percent.

Here’s my bold prediction, and what you should expect: The changes are going to wind up costing the average consumer a bit more than 1% or 2%.

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