Michigan: Obamacare Premium Hikes Up To 20 Percent

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Health insurance premiums are shooting up for most Michigan residents that purchase their own coverage in the first year after Obamacare, state insurers have reported.

All insurers in the state are hiking their premiums, from 2.7 percent up to 21.6 percent. Michigan’s largest insurers, Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield, are hiking premiums by an average of 9.3 percent and 9.7 percent in 2015 for a whopping three-quarters of Michigan residents that purchase their coverage on or off the state’s Obamacare exchange.

Blue Cross executive Terry Burke said the hikes are needed to account for ever-rising health care costs and uncertainty related to the Obamacare expansion bringing in sicker-than-average patients.

“We’ve got a big influx of people and we don’t know what their claims conditions are,” Burke told the South Bend Tribune. “The actuaries are concerned about that risk mix.”

The next largest insurer, Humana, is hiking rates by 18 percent on average for its 16,600 customers. Smaller insurers are upping their premium rates in a wider range, from around 3 percent to as high as 21 percent. (RELATED: Obamacare Update: Now Even More States Report Double-Digit Premium Hikes) 

Michigan regulators responded that the rate hikes weren’t finalized, warning that there are a host of regulations insurers must abide by.

“We have to thoroughly review the rate plans and the rates themselves to ensure they’re actuarially sound and there’s adequate network coverage and take into account general public comments,” said insurance department spokesman Caleb Buhs.

Sixteen more insurers will offer plans on the Obamacare exchange next year, likely with higher premiums than customers are accustomed to.

While most of those who purchase health insurance in the individual market across the country are still experiencing large rate increases in the wake of Obamacare, the health care law’s redistribution measures between insurers are pushing back the health care law’s biggest hikes until 2016 and 2017, according to experts.

The University of Minnesota’s Stephen Parente predicts that the full brunt of Obamacare rate hikes will hit in 2017, the year after temporary risk mitigation provisions — and a potential insurer bailout — end. (RELATED: Top Health Economist Predicts Obamacare Will Ultimately Boost Number Of Uninsured)

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