Over the Labor Day holiday, the state released next year's Obamacare health insurance rates for Missourians in the individual market, and it was a doozy. Not only will participation in the marketplace decline in 2018, but plan prices will increase on average by a whopping one-third, or even more.
Rate proposals released Friday by the Missouri Department of Insurance are on average 36 percent to 42 percent higher than rates for similar 2017 plans....
Both Cigna and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the two companies returning to sell on the marketplace, listed the uncertainty about cost-sharing payments that help consumers cover the cost of insurance as justifications for their proposed rates.
Cigna has reportedly asked for up to a 73% price hike on at least some of its plans. Meanwhile Anthem will be dropping out of at least 17 counties in the state where the company marketed plans just this year. KCUR has a good national map of the number of insurers in each county in 2018. Particularly in Missouri, the map tells a story of an individual insurance market that for hundreds of thousands is less a market and more a monopoly, duopoly, or oligopoly.
American health care reforms should be based on good policy that empowers people, not government. And these rate hikes are just the latest example of what happens when the center of a health care system is government and its cronies rather than patients themselves. We need change, and we need it sooner rather than later.