Barack Obama repeatedly promised Americans that Obamacare would lower insurance premiums by $2,500 a year.
It was another lie.
U.S. consumers eligible for Obamacare health plans could see double-digit price hikes next year in states that fail to draw large numbers of enrollees for 2014, including some states that have been hostile to the healthcare law, according to insurance industry officials and analysts.
The early estimates come as insurance companies set out to design plans they intend to sell in 2015 through the state-based health insurance marketplaces that are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement that is widely referred to as Obamacare.
WellPoint Inc, which sells plans on 14 Obamacare exchanges, expects health insurance rates nationwide to be higher. Increases for the Obamacare market that has signed up about 5 million people to date is expected to outpace those in the employer-sponsored market, which serves about 170 million people.
“Looking at the rate increases on a year-over-year basis on our exchanges, and it will vary by carrier, but all of them will probably be in double digit plus,” Ken Goulet, president of WellPoint’s commercial business, told investors in New York on Friday.
The cost of health insurance is already a political hot potato in this year’s election campaign for control of Congress, with Republicans warning of the potential for sky-rocketing rates in their attempt to turn the ballot into a referendum on Obamacare.
Insurers have noted the difficulty of building and pricing plans for 2015, which will mark the second year of the Obamacare exchanges. Enrollment for 2014 closes on March 31, giving them very little time to review the costs of covering their new members before submitting proposed rates to insurance regulators in May and June.