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Obamacare In Ohio Individual Health Insurance Premiums

The key findings of a forecast report by Milliman Inc.

, Seattle for the Ohio Department of Health Insurance are that the changes occurring as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will bring down the number of uninsured by 790,000, but increase premiums by more than 55% for the 735,000 residents who have Ohio individual health insurance coverage.

According to Milliman consultants, these trends are primarily driven by the estimated health status of the new individual health insurance market and the expansion of covered benefits. 1

Says Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor, This report clearly shows what I have long predicted; Obamacare will result in bigger government, unsustainable costs, and ultimately, less consumer choice. 2

She had expressed her objections to Obamacare in a guest column3 earlier this year and come out vehemently against the costly Medicaid expansion, the proposed new health insurance regulatory bureaucracy and the market reforms that would make it difficult for states to regulate Ohio individual health insurance.

The Milliman report points that while the percentage of insured Ohio residents could go up by 7.9 percent in 2017, premiums would go up for those who have enrolled in Ohio individual health insurance plans. The study considered the potential behavior of individuals and employers based on income level, age, and health status to make these estimates.

If the PPACA is implemented and works as expected, PPACA would want major Ohio health insurance companies to sell policies that meet minimum benefits requirements on guaranteed issue, on a community-rated basis starting in 2014. Main predictions:

Ohio Individual health insurance market: Premiums for Ohio residents could increase by as much as 55 to 85 percent in 2014 (apart from the ongoing trend which is an average yearly increase of 7 to 8 percent nationwide). The current health status of some individuals could cause their Ohio individual health insurance premiums to increase by 90 to 130 percent, while premiums may decrease for others.

Small group market: For employers with 2 to 50 employees, premiums are expected to register average increases of 5 to 15 percent in 2014, not including the annual medical trend increases. While premiums may go up by 150 percent for some small groups, they may decease by 40 percent for other groups, depending on their current health status.

Government insurance market: There will be a dramatic expansion of government programs when the act is fully implemented. Up to half of all Ohio residents could be members of some type of government-subsidized Ohio health insurance plan, including Medicare. More than one million Ohioans are expected to enter the state's Medicaid rolls in 2014 and more than 500,000 are expected to enroll in the government-subsidized Ohio health insurance exchanges.

Battles continue to be waged in court and Congress to block the implementation of PPACA

Handcuffing states with Obamacare's one-size-fits-all approach is not the reform we need. Ohioans deserve a consumer-driven, market-based approach that provides adequate protections along with accountability, affordability and transparency. We do not need a government-knows-best set of mandates, says Taylor.2



2Ohio Department of Insurance press release, 9/20/2011

3Mary Taylor, Presidents Healthcare Plan is Bad for Ohio and our State Insurance Market, Guest Column: STATE OF OHIO, DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE, COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE, June 24, 2011

Allison Bell, Ohio: PPACA Could Push 660,000 Out of Group Health Market, publ. 7/26/2011

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