New Obamacare clients are reportedly “sicker than expected” and insurance companies across the U.S. are seeking increases of 20%-40%+ for 2016 premiums. For example, according to both federal and industry-linked documents now appearing online, Blue Cross and Blue Shield are seeking the following hikes in their rates: 23% in Illinois, 25% in North Carolina, 31% in Oklahoma, 36% in Tennessee and 54% in Minnesota. Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate with Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, said such dramatic increases would have a “profound effect,” adding that many people “may start wondering if [health] insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”
Healthcare insurance companies highlighted a variety of reasons for the proposed hikes, such as the needs of clients (some of whom were not insured previously), the increased costs of speciality medications, and that some claims were above 100% of premiums paid and this was “not sustainable.” However, the Congressional Budget Office points to low enrollment numbers as the reason for insurance companies’ current problems, saying that 20 million new sign-ups are required by 2016, thus producing a greater mix of healthy and sick clients; this was the original argument of Obamacare’s self-sustainability.
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