Americans covered under Obamacare are turning out to be sicker than expected, and health insurance companies are calling for dramatic rate increases — as much as 54 percent — to help meet the costs.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the market leaders in most states, wants to drive up rates by 54 percent in Minnesota, 36 percent in Tennessee, and 31 percent in Oklahoma, just a few of the states where documents filed online show higher rates are being sought, reports The New York Times.
Heath and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell told The Times that subsidies will help soften the blow of the rate increases, as 85 percent of the people who obtain coverage through federal and state marketplaces use tax credits to help pay premiums.
She also urged customers to try to find less expensive plans during the upcoming open enrollment period, which will start in November, as there is “a marketplace where there is competition, and people can shop for the plan that best meets their needs in terms of quality and price.”
In Oregon, Insurance Commissioner Laura Cali has already approved the rate increases for 2016, with Moda Health Plan, the largest insurer, to be allowed to raise their premiums by 25 percent and the next largest, LifeWise, has received a 33 percent increase.
“Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here,” said Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group. “Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”