I was asked about the story when I talked with J.D. Hayworth on Newsmax TV on Wednesday. The simple fact is that while people can predict, no one knows how much premiums are going to rise. Even those whose business it is to track rate increases, Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, say their figure should be used “with extreme caution,” a statewide average that “has little relationship to an increase in any consumer's actual premium rate.”
As I travel around Wisconsin, I talk to businesses, to health care providers and to insurance agents. I have heard numerous anecdotes of Wisconsinites receiving dramatic premium increases for next year. One owner of an insurance agency claimed his clients were experiencing premium increases ranging from 16% to 60%, averaging around 30%. This is what real people actually have experienced.
Or as one employer who took the time to write me put it:
“I would like to inform you that the insurance premiums for my auto dealership employees will increase 48.5% starting in December. The affordable act is not working! We have less than 50 employees so we are not required to supply insurance but to be a good employer we do.
“Also under (ACA), being a S corporation, family members are not allowed to (use) a flex spending account, totally unfair under this act because they are not owners or stock holders of the corporation. What a terrible way to treat hard working American taxpayers.”
This should not be surprising. Research reported in Forbes shows steep increases already have happened to premiums in 2014 compared to what would have happened without Obamacare.
And news reports have pointed out for months that premiums on existing plans that individual are buying on the government-run “exchanges” are likely to rise sharply, and that consumers are likely to have to switch plans to avoid unpleasantly large rate increases.
But, again, that’s prediction. Obamacare already has a record.
• The president said that 8 million people gained coverage thanks to Obamacare. It turns out that two-thirds to three-fourths of those people already had insurance and were not part of the targeted group of "uninsured."
• The president promised, over and over, a health care program that would cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year. That didn’t happen. Instead, the typical family premium has gone up by more than $2,500.
So I’m disappointed, sad and even angered when Wisconsinites write to me, as this man did, to tell about 38% premium increases:
“I wrote you a while back urging you to do something about health care. My monthly premium just rose another $500.00 dollars to $1,800 per month. I can no longer afford to supply my family of four with health care. My deductible is $12,750 dollars. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE AFFORDABLE!!!! My last policy was cancelled due to government regulation. I have lost complete faith in government and its representatives. Why would I pay 1,800 per month when I pay the first $12,750 anyway -- this is absolute insanity.”
Or as this Wisconsinite put it:
“Ever since this was made law my health insurance has gone up by multiples! So after enrollment last year, I saw $50 tacked on to my bill for ACA taxes and fees. Prior to that my insurance was at a rate of under $400/month, then when Obamacare hit, it was going to go up to almost $800/month. So I backed my deductible down from $1,000/person w/ $5,000 max out of pocket to a $2,500/person and $10,000 max out of pocket in order to keep it at only $550/month. Then the ACA taxes and fees got added on and brought it to $600/month. Now, I have received my renewal notice and my insurance premium is going up to $732/month! That is a 22% increase. How is the ACA helping????? My agent even tells me that this is cheaper than any of the ACA plans that are out there.
“We are a young family — mid 30s with 3 kids that are 1, 4 and 6, and no ongoing health issues. We are all height/weight appropriate, active, nonsmokers, no history of disease, no major history of even using medical services except for wellness checks. So that being the case, we are making a $9,000/year donation to what?!?!?! This is NOT AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE! At this point, I would prefer not to carry any insurance and pay everything straight out of pocket.”
Again, no one can tell what the actual premium increases will be for 2015. But what I am certain of is that many Wisconsinites have been harmed, not helped, by Obamacare.
Update: Here is another email that just arrived from Racine:
"Ron: Just got my 2015 premium increase, up 29.1% from $1,113.48 to $1,437.87. I'd be happy to fax or email a scan of the letter. Out of work for two years, and now this.
No, not good.