Premium Hikes Or Not? That Is The Question

An analysis by the New York Health Benefits Exchange projects that in New York, unlike in many other states, the health law will likely lead to lower health premiums next year. In Minnesota, though, one of the state's largest insurers is seeking a rate increase of about 13 percent this summer -- a few months before major provisions of the law take effect. And, in North Carolina, the state's largest insurer is warning of steep increases ahead.

The Washington Post's Wonk Blog: Obamacare Could Lower Premiums In New York, New Study Finds
There's pretty widespread acknowledgement that, under Obamacare, many in the individual market will see premiums go up. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has acknowledged this, as have other top Democrats. That's the case in most of the country — but not in New York State. There, the state is actually expecting some big changes likely to lower health premiums, according to a new analysis prepared for the New York Health Benefits Exchange (Kliff, 5/6).

Pioneer Press: Medica Asks For A Rate Hike. Are Other Minnesota Health Insurers Next?
A recent uptick in health care costs could start ballooning some insurance premiums for Minnesota workers this summer. Medica, one of the state's three largest health insurers, is seeking an average rate increase of 13 percent for about 5,000 people covered through their small-business employers when they renew policies in July (Snowbeck, 5/6).

Charlotte Observer: Blue Cross: Rates Will Rise Under New Federal Health Care Law
In a signpost pointing to health insurance changes under the nation's new health care law, North Carolina's largest insurer has warned of steep rate increases for customers who have typically paid below-average premiums. A third of Blue Cross and Blue Shield's customers who buy individual policies – or about 125,000 residents – should prepare for unusually large rate increases, according to the Chapel Hill company. The remaining quarter-million customers who buy individual policies will see increases in line with previous years. ... Blue Cross did disclose that insurance costs for employees who work for businesses with 1 to 50 employees will rise about 18 percent in 2014 because of increased coverage and benefits, as well as eight new taxes and fees in the Affordable Care Act. But the effects on small businesses are so wide-ranging that they will result in reductions as deep as 41 percent and increases as high as 284 percent (Murawski, 5/6).

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