California Obamacare Premiums to Rise over 13% in 2017

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The cost for Obamacare’s supposedly “Affordable” health coverage under Covered California will leap by 13.2 percent in 2017.

Breitbart News reported last month that Sacramento Democrats voted as a legislative bloc to approve a bill permitting up to 390,000 illegal aliens to buy Covered California health insurance. The action was taken despite warnings that it would be a financial disaster for the “Covered California” exchange, since very sick foreigners will figure out they can buy full Covered California coverage without a required physical exam.

The legislature had already passed a law that expanded Covered California to permit 170,000 undocumented children to be eligible for Obamacare subsidies as of May 1. Although the state claimed the expense would only be $132 million per year, analysts warned that cost would be multiples more, since only the very sick will enroll.

The 13.2 percent average hike for Covered California this year comes after Sacramento Democrats had been claiming that the 4 percent hike in 2016 and 4.2 percent in 2015 in California had proved that Obamacare’s nationalization of 17 percent of the U.S. economy was the best way to keep medical costs affordable.

Trying to deflect the impact from possible Democratic political motives in shoehorning over a half a million illegal aliens into Covered California coverage just before the November elections, Covered California officials blamed the this year’s premium increases, which will hit 1.4 million enrollees, on the irresponsible actions of the state’s two biggest insurers.

But both Anthem, whose premiums jumped by over 16 percent, and Blue Shield of California, whose premiums leapt by more than 19 percent, blame the premium increases on the rising costs of medical care and the extraordinarily high use of expensive specialty drugs. This is insurance-speak for the factual statement that the pool of Covered California enrollees is increasingly impacted by sicker patients signing up.

For the average 40-year-old single participant earning $17,820 to $23,760-per-year, who chooses the mid-range Blue Shield “silver plan,” the current monthly premium payment is $122 and government pays a $196 subsidy. But next year, the same individual’s monthly payment will jump 39%, to $170, while government’s cost will also rise by 7.5%, to $211 a month.

Covered California bureaucrats claim a rate of increase of only 13.2 percent is proof that government exchanges are working to keep rates down. Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, proudly told the Los Angeles Times, “California has a very competitive marketplace.”

Perhaps Covered California is a relative success, given that 13 of Obamacare’s 23 state-sponsored CO-OP health plans have gone bankrupt in the last two years. As a result, 740,000 former members have had to scramble to find new coverage.

A Wall Street Journal survey revealed that health insurance companies lost as much as 11 percent last year on the health plans they offered through government exchanges. As a result, UnitedHealth, Humana and Blue Cross have dropped coverage in many states, and are raising prices by double digits in the states they continue to cover.

To prevent Obamacare collapsing, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, wants Americans aged 55 to 64 to be able to buy into a “Medicare for All” policy. But critics warn the move would just transfer Obamacare’s massive losses, and undermine Medicare’s solvency.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has argued the health law should be repealed and replaced with private sector insurance plans that are allowed to be offered across state lines.

With the 2017 enrollment period for Covered California and other Obamacare exchanges beginning the week before Election Day, American voters are about to hear a lot about the higher Obamacare premiums.



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