HHS Report Confirms: Insurance Rates In Missouri Exchange To Rocket Upward
At 12:01 a.m. yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report on what some of the average insurance prices for 2014 will be for plans purchased in the new federally run insurance exchanges. That list includes Missouri. You can read the report here.
The takeaway: Rates will rise in 2014, and by a heck of a lot for some people in the state. A quick analysis of the data by Avik Roy, of the Manhattan Institute, finds that for a 27-year-old man in Missouri, rates for the least expensive “Bronze” plan will be 104 percent more expensive — more than twice the price of the cheapest plan available today. For a 27-year-old woman, that same plan will be 29 percent more expensive than what they’re paying today. For a 40-year-old man, the cheapest plan will spike 109 percent; for a 40-year-old woman, that plan will spike 35 percent.
About the “lower than projected” talking point: The report couches its findings as a positive — that insurance rates in the “Affordable Care Act” (ACA) exchanges will come in “lower than projected.” Both the methodology and claim are dubious, reeking more of desperation politics than academic research. The HHS compared 2014 rates to an HHS-readjusted prediction from the Congressional Budget Office about insurance rates . . . for 2016. Ignored is the sticker shock of going from today’s on-average lower rates to the dramatically higher rates of the exchange. Take all that together, and voila! The new ACA insurance plans kinda sorta sound cheaper. Also, pay close attention to the news outlets that say insurance rates will be “lower” based on this report; either they didn’t read the report, or they’re willfully misrepresenting the facts to their audiences.
The HHS report is really, really bad news for consumers, despite how you may have seen this news portrayed so far. More to come.