On Sunday, January 6, The New York Times ran a front-page story reporting that health insurance companies across the US “are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.”
Insurance companies in California, Florida, and Ohio have proposed rate increases of at least 20%, but the Affordable Care Act requires regulators to review every request for a rate increase of 10 percent or more.
The insurance rate review process “not only reveals the sharp disparity in the rates themselves, it also demonstrates the striking difference between places like New York, one of the 37 states where legislatures have given regulators some authority to deny or roll back rates deemed excessive, and California, which is among the states that do not have that ability.”
The state of New York recently used its authority to keep rate increases for 2013 in the individual and small group markets to under 10 percent. The California legislature, in contrast, can review rate requests for errors but cannot deny rate increases.
Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.
One option for small business owners to consider is a partnership with a Professional Employer Organization that offers a Master Health Plan option, which can offset rising insurance costs.
For example, G&A Partners offers a Master Health Plan option through national carrier Cigna. The plan gives small businesses access to the same robust and reliable health benefits and responsive customer service that employees of large corporations have come to enjoy through Cigna.
G&A’s plan offers employers the opportunity to lower their health insurance costs while offering employees more attractive benefits packages and access to wellness programs.
Read more here.