States Grapple With Obamacare Premium Increases, Related Issues
In California, voters are split over a ballot initiative that would give the state's insurance commissioners new powers to veto health insurance cost increases. Meanwhile, in Iowa, the insurance commissioner approves rate increases proposed by three insurers.
The Wall Street Journal: Californians Split Over Letting Official Veto Insurers’ Rate Boosts
Californians are split over a high-profile voter initiative that opponents say could complicate the future of President Barack Obama ’s health-care law in one of the states that has gone furthest to embrace it. Proposition 45 would grant California’s insurance commissioner new powers to veto health-insurance premium increases for individual and small-group policies, a popular sentiment in a state that has seen large rate jumps in the past, though they have recently moderated (Lazo, 10/8).
Des Moines Register: Three Health Insurers Get OK To Increase Rates
Iowa's insurance commissioner has approved three rate adjustments that will raise health insurance premiums for thousands of Iowans. Commissioner Nick Gerhart said today that he has approved premium increases from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CoOportunity Health and Coventry Health. Des Moines-based Wellmark had sought a rate increase of between 11.9 percent and 14.5 percent for about 19,000 of its customers. That increase is for individual policyholders who have Affordable Care Act-compliant plans. The dominant health insurer in Iowa, Wellmark is raising rates on about 250,000 policies. A vast majority of those rate increases are less than the 6.1 percent threshold that would require Gerhart's approval (Patane, 10/8).
Unexpected tax bills are also a matter of concern --
CT Mirror: Obamacare Worry: Unexpected Tax Bills For Those With Discounted Insurance
Nearly 60,000 Connecticut residents get discounted health insurance as part of Obamacare. And officials are worried that some of them could get hit with an unexpected tax bill next year. The reason: The subsidies that help low- and moderate-income people buy health insurance are actually tax credits, paid in advance to insurance companies, based on each person’s income. If their income increases, the tax credit they’re entitled to gets smaller. But the federal government won’t lower its payments to insurers until people report the change in income. That means people who didn't report changes in income could be getting bigger discounts than they qualify for -- and they'll be required to pay some or all of the money back when they file their taxes next year (Levin Becker, 10/9).