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May 9, 2014

Great News: The Patriot Post Can Keep Its Health Plan — For Now

Our rates are going up 27% for a temporary plan. Unfortunately, that's now the norm.

A recent survey of insurance company premiums conducted by Morgan Stanley has revealed a nationwide increase of 11 to 12%, with some states experiencing downright crippling premium hikes. Florida has seen a 37% increase, California has had a 53% increase in premiums, and premiums in Delaware have gone up 100%. These rate hikes are higher and faster than at any time since analysts started tracking them. We can vouch for that after receiving our own policy renewal here at The Patriot Post.

Insurance companies across the country have been struggling since the official ObamaCare rollout last October to try to pin their premium rates to the realities of the marketplace. Unfortunately, ObamaCare operates in the world of fiction – first insisting that everyone could keep their doctor and their plan, then maintaining that the health care law would lower insurance costs for Americans.

It’s only the beginning, too – the drastic rise in premiums is expected to continue well into the next decade. But the Congressional Budget Office issued a report earlier this week claiming that rate hikes in 2016 will be 15% lower than originally projected in 2009. Costs will continue to soar, but not as high as was predicted five years ago. That’s supposed to make us feel better?

The law’s attempts to shoehorn everyone into a one-size-fits-all pool has done much of the damage. In order to cover those with pre-existing conditions and higher health care expenses, younger, healthier people are forced to pay more for their own insurance. Taxpayers are on the hook for picking up the voluntary and involuntary uninsured, which further skews the balance of payments across the system. By the way, there is still no accurate accounting of whether the law is making a dent in covering the country’s number of uninsured.

Risk corridors will further skew insurance rates. This program funnels money to insurance companies who experience losses from taxpayers. After the program was nailed for being little more than an insurance industry bailout, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed making it budget neutral, meaning that money for low-performing companies would be provided by taking it from those insurers performing better than expected. There is no guarantee that there will be enough high performers to cover losses, and insurers warn that this market manipulation will only further drive up the cost of insurance because they will need to pad premiums to absorb the additional risk.

The rising costs of insurance has forced leading companies who provide it for employees to begin contemplating their options. Higher premiums mean that employees will have to kick in more, leading to smaller paychecks and less money in the economy overall. Small businesses like ours will be the worst hit because we may not be able to afford the overhead, and many will end up dumping plans. Large companies face fines for such actions, but the fines are most likely going to be more cost effective than paying out for more expensive insurance. They can dump their plans, save money, and let employees turn to the exchanges.

Here in our humble shop, our insurance premiums are set to go up 27% this year – and that’s for our “grandmothered” plan that we can keep only until 2015 (after the election) unless Barack Obama extends the exemption for it. To move to an ObamaCare-compliant plan would cost us between 33% and 52% more for higher deductibles and higher coinsurance. That’s not just because we have “Patriot” in our name, either – it’s just the incredibly painful new reality of ObamaCare.

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