The full title of the legislation commonly known as ObamaCare is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It’s often described using just the last three words — the Affordable Care Act — and “affordability” was at the heart of the White House’s argument for the law. But so far, there are few signs that health care will become more affordable as a result of the law. Indeed, it increasingly looks as if the opposite could be true — that ObamaCare may be causing higher premiums rather than preventing them.
Over the weekend, The New York Times published a report noting that health insurers across the nation are both “seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums” — this despite the fact that “one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.”
The Times reports that health insurers have successfully raised rates by at least 20 percent in Ohio and Florida, increases that it says add several hundred dollars to the monthly cost of insurance. And in California, three insurers have requested increases of more than 20 percent for individuals who do not receive employer-sponsored insurance and small businesses. The story describes those two groups as “particularly vulnerable” to high rate increases.
The Times isn’t the first to report big health insurance increases coming down the pipeline. Aetna’s CEO warned last month that small and individual group markets were likely to increase by an average of 25 to 50 percent, and suggested that some policyholders might see their rates double.
What’s going on? Why are these rates going up?
CONTINUED at Reason. Written by Peter Suderman.