Obamacare continued: Anthem Blue Cross to raise rates 47% in Connecticut
You can keep your doctor, you can keep your insurance, it will bend the cost curve down, it will … oh never mind. This is what change looks like.
Anthem Blue Cross has been approved, by the state of Connecticut, to raise rates as high as 47% for some policies, and 19% for all policies as it attempts to meet new mandates from …. drum roll please …. Obamacare! From the Hartford Courant.
For all of its individual market plans, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has received approval to raise rates by at least 19 percent — including a range of 30 percent to 44 percent for the brand of plans in the individual market that was most popular in 2009, Century Preferred.
The reason for the increases is the new federal health reform mandates, according to Anthem and the state Department of Insurance, which is defending its approval against charges by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Those reforms took effect Sept. 23.
If this were not so serious and so stupid at the same time … it would be laughable.
It is not clear how many people are paying, or will pay, these new rates because federal reform allows insurers to grandfather certain plans that existed before reform was passed in March. What it means for Anthem customers is that anyone who enrolled before March 24 will have the option of staying in their current plan, which would increase next year based on rising costs but not because the plan will have added benefits mandated by federal law. Anyone who bought an Anthem plan on March 24 or later will pay the new rates.
Richard Blumenthal of course is “deeply disappointed” and has condemned the state insurance commissioner for not looking specifically at insurance costs and profits as required by law. But Commissioner Thomas Sullivan has fired back.
“The rates that were filed and approved reflect the current cost to deliver care and the impact of more comprehensive benefit designs required under the federal healthcare reform law. If the attorney general wants to complain to someone, he should be complaining to Congress.”
Read the entire post by Courant reporter Matthew Sturdevant. It’s classic.
Ironically even Obama now seems to understand these kind of rate increases will become the norm. Not even Richard “jobs” Blumenthal could expect insurance companies to keep rates the same when the Obama is demanding that they accept any child after they get sick, or allow 26 year old “children” to stay on parents’ policies. This is gunna get worse folks, made even more outrageous by the fact that they pushed this crap down our throats.
Jim, this comes as NO SUPRISE, because with the coming of Obamacare or that which I would rather call, PBOcare, UP GO costs rates! Just a thought.
This makes me sick…sick…sick. (whoops…not covered…) Can't wait to see whether I get hit with the 19% or the 47%.
Only 47%. WOW! Time to jump in! Double Down! How does the average investor get in on these kind of returns! With fixed income returns wallowing around the 1%, this could be the investment oportunity of a lifetime. Better than Gold!
I am sooooooo sorry. I thought the 47% was investment return. Back to the altar to Pray for Hope and Change. Please Dear God, can you make Nov. 2, 2010 show up early and while you are at it, move up Nov. 6, 2012 as well. We are dying under this regime.
OK, I'm thinking like a spinmeister here. How about the spin now will be, that the big evil insurance companies are gouging the public. They will shout from the rooftops, "You need Obamacare more than ever to protect yourselves from BIG BAD Business". Don't you get it, it doesn't need to make sense, did any of the Blumenthal supporters at the debate look like they can think for themselves, (well maybe 10%)? The rest didn't know what to yell until the bullhorn told them.
Just take another toke of Hopeium…it'll all go away then.
UNEXPECTEDLY Anthem Blue Cross would like to remain at least profitable for it's stockholders.
I'm starting to wonder when we will notice the bruise on Obama's forhead from all the "DOH"s about this reform legislation.
Why, it's "unprecedented" once again for the most unprecedented president in history. Wotta putz.
The president knows exactly what he is doing , because this will lead to single payer insurance in the future. The large insurance companies are in on this fix don't be fooled.
How dare Blummie whine about this when he could have joined 20 other states rightfully fighting the unconstitutionality of this debacle.
Oh yeah, where are the Republican US Congressmen who wailed that Obamacare was unconstitutional? They should have persued this with the Supreme Court right after the vote, – if not before !!!
Smells like the Wall St mess doesn't it? And Dodd made sure no one could ake those criminals to court.
To lie and compromise is easy, to live up to the high standards of the Constitution takes real Americans.
Who expected the insurance companies to not to increase premiums? W/o some real competition (e.g. public option) they can do what they want and just look at each other to see how high to make the rate increases. According to the paper Aetna spends 53 cents of each dollar in premiums on health payments. Do you know where the other 47 cents go??
… Sammy … "W/o some real competition (e.g. public option) they can do what they want and just look at each other to see how high to make the rate increases."
That's friggin' hilarious.
Duh, of course they knew the rates would skyrocket. Of course they knew that Insuramce companies would stop writing. How else do you think they were going to get government single-payer? It takes a crisis. And the best way to get a health insurance crisis is for the companies currently writing health insurance to either: a) charge premiums that the average person won't be able to afford or b) realize they can't compete and stop writing policies.
Steve it is hilarious for some: they are laughing all the way to their banks.
Well, like it or not, by definition, there is no competition in single payer. That being said, there has to be a reason that Coakley and not Brown was in Washington DC getting financial support from pharma and HMO lobbyists (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Coakley-in-trouble-Pharma-and-HMO-lobbyists-to-the-rescue-81067542.html).
It seems just like yesterday when the Democrats and Øbama were telling us how much money we will save etc. when Øbamacare was put into effect.
I guess we will just drop that promise into the circular file with all the others…
We do not have a single payer system and we do not have "competition". The best of all possible worlds for some.
A matter of opinion of course. Single payer guarantees that there will be no competition. Or innovation. Or choice. Or doctors to go to and adequate care. History shows that it does guarantee long lines though.
A monopoly isn't suddenly good because the government does it.
As you stated, and as the Coakley fund raiser proves, there seems to be a back room deal between the Øbama administration and big pharm/HMO. The only people not partaking in the back room dealing are we the people.
WE DO NOT HAVE A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM! Why bring this falsehood up over and over! But, we have a monopoly by the insurance companies.
They say we don't have a spending problem, we've got a revenue problem! Well, they must be thinking we're all going to start sh*tt*ng some Grants, Franklins and Grover Clevelands! Unfortunately, our money is fast becoming Pesos!
Jeez! I didn't say we had one, I said that this is what one would result it. This is what Øbama wants and has said as much. And we don't have a monopoly by the insurance companies (monopoly (m?n?p`?l?): market condition in which there is only one seller of a certain commodity; by virtue of the long-run control over supply, such a seller is able to exert nearly total control over prices.). I believe you are suggesting that they are an oligopoly, the concentration of supply in a few producers. The bank mergers of the past few decades would be an example of this.
I would rather have the alleged oligopoly than a government run monopoly. At least the members of the oligopoly know what they are doing.
The insurers have been raising rates for years.
In the past the excuse (lie) was that costs of business was going up. Costs of medical products, drugs, salaries of health care workers did not go up 20-30% year over year. They were lying.
This year they blame the health care bill because they are supposedly being asked to provide coverage. Sure, that is a problem Not like they are in the business of providing health coverage or anything!! (sarc).
The cost keeps going up at twice the rate of inflation and fewer can afford it each year. The only providing done by "the providers') more I see is in the CEO salaries and the denial of their customers coverage.
Obama missed a golden opportunity by not pushing harder for the public option. He should have fought tooth and nail to pass it or open up medicare to everyone. It was deeply disappointing when the D's wimped out on this one.
The bank "oligopoly" almost sank the world economy in 2008, so oligopolies hardly seem to know what they are doing (other than enrich themselves). While the 401(k)s lost 50% of their value, Social Security benefits went up 2.3% in 2008 and 5.8 in 2009. Go figure!
While this is grossly off topic, and I only used the banking example as an example and no more. If Steve will forgive the following:
The banking oligopoly was told to "make housing affordable and accessible" by the likes of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd as an extension of the Community Reinvestment Act. If normal, established banking practices had been employed (20% down or PMI paid), the housing crash would have been severely mollified, if it happened at all. I suspect it would have to some degree anyway, since the housing marked cycles between zenith and nadir. We are clearly in the nadir, but the number of foreclosures is abnormally high because the owners were able to by houses beyond their means with "no money down" mortgages and the insane belief that house prices could do nothing but go up, a classic example of the ignorance of history repeating itself. No skin in the game, and they just walk away. The banks are complicit, but they were also threatened by the benevolent Democrats.
So how do you figure those SS benefits doing now, particularly in light of the current start of SS bankruptcy (more going out than coming in)?
Chris: how are the leaders of government any better than the leaders of health care insurance? I cite all the examples of single payer systems like Canada, Sweden and Great Britain as prime examples of the failure of government to pay for the cost increases you say don't exist and reduce the ridiculous portion of their economies that single payer health care has consumed.
Sammy you said "According to the paper Aetna spends 53 cents of each dollar in premiums on health payments" what's your resource?
Sammy22, We will have a single payer system as soon as the insurance companies have to raise their prices so high to cover the mandates that only a govt. insurance plan with unlimited amounts of tax payer money backing will be affordable.
As for monopolies, Rhode Island allowed Anthem to be the only health insurance company offered in their state. If you wanted insurance, you had to call the state DOI to buy the insurance. I can assure you I had several RI citizens beg me to sell them insurance so they could afford it. I could not sell it because I could not sell policies across state lines. Connecticut has virtually hundreds of different companies and policies and many were affordable, that is what competition is all about.
Dims: the SS benefits are doing just fine by my counting, they are still coming. As to "bankruptcy" in the future, who knows? Time will tell (and we might end some wars for extra cash). Meanwhile the 401(k)s are still 25% lower than in 2008.
TomL: the statement was in the Courant. You can argue w/ it if you want.
Of course they are still coming. They just keep whacking your paycheck. If the money had simply been invested in ultraconservative (no pun intended) investments, the system would be working on its own, and benefits would be greater than what SS is, and more importantly, what they will be in the future. Galveston, TX proved that (http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba514).
Yes, 401(k)s are lower, as is everything, including your pay check. But if you died today and were single, that theoretical SS money is gone. Zero return. You can leave your money to whomever you like. Yes, there are spousal and child benefits, but they are trivial, being a percentage of the worker's payment. The whole system of SS is a pyramid scheme that is turning upside down. Look at the amount taken every week, and tell me that you couldn't do better than a 2.X% return. Even in a basic savings account, you could equal that, with zero risk.
Your posts went from 50% loss to 25% loss in 401(k)s. One more post, and the losses will be gone!
Sammy you got thin skin, all I wanted to know was what was your reference when you quoted "the paper" but I'm going to take a shot where the other $.47 goes let me know if I leave anything out.
Vacation Time and Sick Days
Building Mortgage Payments
Legal Fee's (you know in case Blumie sues)
Insurance (on buildings)
Taxes (local,state and federal)
Mailings (it costs to bill us)
Owners Dividends (stockholders)
Cash on Hand or Reserves(just in case of major catastrophe)
Profits (God forbid that they actually make a profit)
I can go on if you want. I thought I had heard that the heaith care insurers were making around a 4% profit but will need time to search that up but maybe someone here could confirm.
TomL, Exactly, I was so hoping someone would make this point!
Jeez, TomL. Your list looks like the "cost of doing business" plus profits. Is that the best you can do?
And Dims, the 401(k)s are still 25% or more lower than in 2008 (BTW today is Oct. 18, 2010). You've got a way to go before they reach 2008 levels.
But you don't have long to go before SS hits a wall, and the day keeps moving up. Increasing the retirement age, cutting benefits and taking more and more out of paychecks people could use to invest in real retirement accounts. Add in cuts in COLA increases, what will that add up to, and when do you find that the 401(k)s are not so bad?
As for health care profits, I think you need to look at profit margins, which basically reflect the percentage of revenue left over after paying salaries, expenses, taxes and lots of other things. Among the large, for-profit health insurers, profit margins line up with the industry as a whole. UnitedHealthGroup, the biggest health insurer, had a 4.1 percent profit margin over the past 12 months. WellPoint, the next biggest, had a 4 percent profit margin. Aetna, Cigna, and Humana came in below that.
Read the rest in "Why Health Insurers Make Lousy Villains" in US News and World Report (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/flowchart/2009/08/25/why-health-insurers-make-lousy-villains.html)
Conjectures, hypothesis and projections about the SS supposed demise are just that. The facts are that benefits are being paid out and will be for the foreseeable future. Also the facts are that the stock/bond markets tanked in 2008 and took the 401(k)s w/ them, not to mention the pension funds.
As for the profit margins I note that the supermarket chains run margins lower than 2% and it seems to be enough for them. And let's see what 4% profit margin comes out in dollars for the insurers. I bet it's a REALLY BIG number.
Belittle it as you will. Benefits (a dubious term at best) will come out of the hides of the non retired. It is easy to confiscate the wages of others and say that the program is successful. If the aforementioned effects of reductions, COLA freezes, delayed eligibility etc., continue or worsen, what will the net effect be: better, same or worse for SS recipients? In other words, what will be the percentage reduction in their buying power? The tanking markets also took the jobs that were supplying the funds propping up SS, another decrease in funding that will lead to decreases in payouts and increased confiscation of wages from the remaining employed. A vicious cycle at best. A Ponzi scheme at worst.
Are you now the arbiter of what an acceptable profit margin should be? The real point is that 96% of receipts go back into the business. No matter how big a number the 4% translates to, the number that 94% generates will always be bigger. What percentage would you consider to be acceptable, 1%? Maybe simply making no profit? Maybe the government should just decide what an acceptable profit and wage is for everyone. They have a name for that.
I am not belittling anything. I am presenting facts. Your replies simply dance around the facts and ask hypothetical questions.
sammy22 says … "As for the profit margins I note that the supermarket chains run margins lower than 2% and it seems to be enough for them."
And that folks, is what it comes down to for many liberals. They "think" 2 percent (or whatever) is enough. Your position will certainly guaranty the economic engine of the world will lay down and take a very long nap.
Certainly you don't need that second car. You really can get by with a 800 square foot house can't you? You're a single male and make more than 100k? Certainly, that is more than you need … we'll take everything you make over … let's say … $50k, you can "live" just fine on that…
Nice touch, Steve. When I buy something I don't pay in %s but in $s. Don't you? One can hide a lot of stuff by talking percentages instead of real numbers! In fact, %s don't mean squat unless they are tied to an actual number.You gave numbers to make different cases to suit the agenda.
Steve, I think you mischaracterized sammy22's statement. He said "it seems to be enough for them", not that he thinks thats all they should get.
Obamacare has its flaws, and yes, has to be the cause of some of this increase. But it may also be true (it MAY, I don't KNOW) that its not unlike what happened when gas prices went haywire a few summers ago. Many businesses tacked on energy surcharges that just became another revenue stream, charging amounts that far exceeded the actual price of gas for the job. I'm not anti-business, but that is simple fact, I experienced it many times back then. There may very well be some opportunism in this as well, but only time will tell. Profit numbers a year from now and beyond, will be the final arbiter.
I am sorry, but which of the following is hypothetical: COLA freezes, coming increases in eligibility ages, the number of retirees exceeding the number of workers to fund them, the fact that there are no funds in the SS Trust (ha!) Fund, that the break even point for SS moves closer and closer, that the major confiscation of your paycheck is SS, or the return is a measly ~2%, that Medicare will be cut a half trillion dollars, rates for health care are going up regardless of what plan is in effect, that a reverse mortgage is not worth what it used to be?
Now which of them will "hypothetically" affect the elderly? Just the facts please.
And sammy, I would love to apply your percentages argument to the tax system and get a flat tax, but progressives don't believe in percentages in the manner you present as being anything close to fair, just relative incomes and class warfare. Hence the problem.