The two top insurance companies on Iowa’s Obamacare exchange are, of course, hiking premium prices for 2015, partly in response to one of the administration’s many Obamacare delays.
CoOportunity Health sent letters to at least 9,100 Iowa customers indicating it is proposing to raise premium rates by 14.3 percent. Coventry Health Care is boosting its rates by an average of 8.7 percent of all customers, the Des Moines Register reported Friday.
Obamacare requires insurers to submit proposed premium prices to state insurance commissioners for approval. Iowa’s commissioner will hold public hearings on the two companies’ requests in July and the insurance division is posting largely negative comments from customers online.
“It feels like the ultimate bait and switch when an increase comes so early in” Obamacare, one customer of CoOportunity wrote.
CoOportunity COO Cliff Gold said the large hike is partly due to the Obama administration’s last-minute extension of noncompliant health care plans, which Iowa state officials accepted. After a wide outcry erupted when Obamacare regulations forced insurers to cancel millions of health insurance plans, President Obama backtracked and issued a so-called administrative fix to allow insurers to offer the plans for a limited amount of time. (RELATED: Is The Obama Administration Waving The White Flag On Canceled Plans?)
Gold told the Des Moines Register that the fix allowed more healthy Iowans, who already had insurance plans, to retain old coverage, making the pool of Obamacare exchange customers sicker and more likely to have chronic health problems — boosting prices for all of the company’s Obamacare customers.
According to a report from Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber at the Commonwealth Fund, the average premium hike in Iowa in 2008, before Obamacare passed, was just 2.8 percent. (RELATED: Report Touts Pre-Obamacare Premium Hikes As Obamacare Pledge To Lower Costs Abandoned)