Beware of backlash, Dems, healthcare premiums are set to skyrocket

obamacareshoutAs news from the health industry begins to trickle out about expected steep rises in healthcare premiums, Democrats will need to gird their loins for a powerful deluge come summer and fall.

A February report published by eHealthInsurance concluded that without subsidies, individual monthly premiums now averaged historic highs of $274 and family premiums, $663, according to the Washington Examiner. Additionally, the vast majority of new purchasers were selecting the bronze plan, the cheapest, where co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses were the largest.

Not surprisingly, a recent survey of 700 businesses by consulting firm Mercer LLC indicated that 80 percent already had or were strongly considering raising deductibles, the Daily Caller reported.

Hence, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s warning shot across the bow in testimony to Congress last week, that consumers could expect an increase in premiums in 2015, but  smaller than usual.

With all the delays, mishaps and changes that Obamacare has endured since its rollout, officials across the country are exasperated. One high-ranking insurance executive from a swing state with a large senior citizen population, requesting anonymity, said that rates would likely triple on his Obamacare exchange, according to The Hill.

A major reason would be the mandatory coverages that insurers must provide to everyone, such as maternity and pediatric services, even if you’re male, over 70, and dislike children. Secondly, the percent of young robust Americans enrolling in the president’s “signature legislation” has fallen well below the original benchmark, leaving the pool top-heavy with elderly and costlier patients.

And of the administration’s touted 5 million signups, as the March 31 deadline draws near, no mention of how many enrollees have actually paid their first month’s premium.

As health industry actuaries begin to crunch the crucial numbers, rest assured, Republicans will be sharpening their messages against a party and a president that promised “to cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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