Last week, Aetna, the third-largest private health insurer in the U.S., held its annual investor conference in New York, in which company executives laid out their detailed assessment of the post-election environment for health insurance. Aetna’s comments, and those of its peers in similar settings, illustrate how Obamacare will dramatically drive up the cost of health insurance in the United States.“In some markets,” said Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, increases in premiums could “go as high as 100 percent. And we’ve done all that math. We’ve shared it with all the regulators. We’ve shared it with all the people in Washington that need to see it. And I think it’s a big concern.”
“Premium rate shock for 2014,” responded Bertolini, “absent subsidies and everything else, is going to be in the neighborhood of 20 percent to 50 percent. And we’re going to see some markets [and] in sub-segments in some markets go as high as 100 percent.”
“Just one piece alone, more than half of the U.S. public [in the individual insurance market] is in a plan at 50 percent or lower actuarial benefit. If you go up to 60 percent, as required by law, you’ve got a huge bump already,” Bertolini noted. “And this is the reason why you’re seeing such pressure between the states and the federal government on exchanges. Whose exchange do you want to show that price increase on?”Aetna said that it plans to participate in exchanges in “up to” 15 states in 2014, representing 65 to 70 percent of the exchange-eligible population, but that the company would “approach exchanges with caution” until it is “confident they represent a rational and stable marketplace…After a transition period, if Aetna cannot earn its cost of capital on exchanges, we will exit market areas.Bertolini also elaborated on the type of insurance that Aetna would provide on Obamacare’s exchanges. “It’s about having the right products at the right cost structure, [with] narrow networks, low-cost networks,” he said. That is to say, Aetna’s exchange products will aggressively steer patients to low-cost doctors and hospitals so as to keep premiums low.If exchange rates do end up in between Medicare and Medicaid, Americans who enroll in the exchanges will have the worst of both worlds: a costly insurance product that doesn’t grant them access to a wide range of doctors and hospitals, making it difficult to get access to needed care.
It’s the perfect government solution. Worthless health care that you can’t afford and can’t opt out of paying for. Socialism wins again.