Health Insurance Premiums Rising Faster than Eight Years Before Obamacare Combined
March 18, 2014
by Sarah Hurtubise
Health insurance premiums have risen more after Obamacare than the average premium increases over the eight years before it became law, according to the private health exchange eHealthInsurance.
The individual market for health insurance has seen premiums rise by 39 percent since February 2013, eHealth reports. Without a subsidy, the average individual premium is now $274 a month. Families have been hit even harder with an average increase of 56 percent over the same period — average premiums are now $663 per family, over $426 last year.
Between 2005 and 2013, average premiums for individual plans increased 37 percent and average family premiums were upped 31 percent. So they have risen faster under Obamacare than in the previous eight years.
An important caveat is that eHealth’s prices don’t include subsidies, so the prices for anyone earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be lower. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has repeatedly claimed patients will pay as little as $18 per month, without noting the taxpayer cost.
Premiums are being hiked across the board for several reasons, but the biggest contributor is the Obama administration’s highly touted “essential health benefits,” services that insurers on and off exchanges must provide.
Some benefits, such as emergency and laboratory services, are uncontroversial. But others, like maternity, newborn and pediatric services, are causing headaches for huge swaths of the population that don’t need them. Anyone past childbearing age, single men, the infertile, even nuns — their premiums are rising as well, because their plans must, by law, provide more services.
But premiums aren’t the only key to health care costs — deductibles and out-of-pocket costs like co-pays are also rising. When it comes to employer health plans alone, four out of five U.S. companies have increased deductibles or are considering doing so.
Prices may be people away from purchasing health insurance. The latest survey from consulting firm McKinsey found that half of those who haven’t purchased health insurance yet this year cited their inability to pay the premium.