July 8 2015
One News Now
As reported recently on OneNewsNow, The New York Times is reporting that health insurance companies are seeking rate increases of 20 to 40 percent or more.
Why? Because their new customers under the Affordable Care Act are sicker than the health insurance companies expected, the Times reported.
Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the Independent Women's Forum, predicts the same issues will continue into next year and beyond.
She describes her prediction: "Some optimistic cheerleaders for ObamaCare are saying that after a few years, market rates should stabilize because then insurance companies will have learned how to deal with the new enrollment population, which is sicker and older than the population that was uninsured before ObamaCare. I'm not as optimistic."
Instead, Manning thinks that what we are seeing in our healthcare and our health insurance system right now should be very troubling for consumers, because the result has been consolidation.
"Last week, Aetna announced it would buy Humana for $37 billion and we might see another merger between Cigna and Anthem," she says.
Those are four of the big five insurers in the United States, Manning notes.
"And as we continue to follow the rabbit-hole of ObamaCare, I think we're going to see fewer and fewer options, which means less and less competition," she predicts. "In other industries, it doesn't take an economics major to understand that competition is what keeps prices down and government price controls can only do so much to affect rates."
Manning points to the cap on drug costs in the Affordable Care Act as one example. Some medications have price caps while others, including specialty drugs, are not included in that cap.