U.S. health insurance companies are looking for massive hikes in next year’s premiums as they have decided that new Obamacare enrollees are “sicker than expected.” Thanks to recently published federal and industry-related online documents, we know that Blue Cross and Blue Shield, amongst others, are asking for the massive rises. For example, they have requested the following increases: 23% for Illinois, 25% for North Carolina, 31% for Oklahoma, 36% for Tennessee and 54% for Minnesota. Health advocate with Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, Jesse Ellis O’Brien, said many people would feel the “profound effect” of such dramatic increases, and would quickly be wondering if “insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”
The Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly said that low take-up numbers are at the root of insurance companies problems; in their opinion, Obamacare needs 20 million new sign-ups by 2016 to make the scheme viable. This increase would provide a more accurate mix of healthy and sick enrollees, thus making the scheme more self-sustainable. However, the insurance companies themselves have an alternate view. They justify the required rises by saying clients’ needs are different, speciality drugs are too costly and some claims amount to more than 100% of previously-paid premiums.
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