Candidate Barack Obama promised to “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.” Instead, news reports today highlighted significant premium increases, with three states now seeing increases of at least 20 percent. Politico Pro reported, “HHS approved premium rate hikes of 26 percent in Alaska, 23.3 percent in Florida and 20.4 percent in Washington state, according to decisions posted on an HHS website. That’s after approving a hike of 18 percent for a Montana insurer in November.”
The Obama administration even admits the health care law’s mandates are to blame for the premium increases. As Politico reports, “The rate increase, HHS explained, was the result of the insurer adjusting to benefit changes required by federal law.”
Critics, including members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, have often questioned the administration’s contention that premiums will decrease as a result of a law that forces employers and insurance companies to provide a package of federally prescribed benefits. As implementation of the law continues, these concerns are increasingly validated. And as the administration is always quick to point out, there’s a lot more to come. Many of the law’s most onerous and burdensome mandates do not take effect until 2014. If recent developments are predictive of future trends, Americans can expect their premiums to continue to rise.