“What we know for sure the [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] will do is that it will lower the cost of buying non-group health insurance,” ObamaCare architect Jon Gruber told the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein in 2009.
But as insurance companies release their proposed rates for 2014 — the year that most of ObamaCare actually goes into effect — it is becoming increasingly clear that the law is, in fact, causing individual insurance rates to skyrocket. Maryland’s largest insurer of individuals, for instance, has proposed a 25-percent rate hike for next year. And new insurer proposals from California, despite the state’s best efforts to portray them otherwise, show that individual rates in the Golden State are likely to experience even greater increases.
On May 23, Covered California, the state’s insurance exchange, issued a press release announcing that in 2014, 13 health plans will be available to individuals via the exchange. Then, through some sleight-of-hand, the exchange went on to claim that the premiums for these plans would be either slightly higher or significantly lower than comparable existing plans.
“It is difficult to make a direct comparison of these rates to existing premiums in the commercial individual market because in 2014, there will be new standard benefit designs under the Affordable Care Act, and the actual change in an individual’s premium will depend on the person’s current insurance coverage,” Covered California wrote.
In other words, because ObamaCare piles on so many mandates, individual plans in 2014 will be significantly different from those in 2013, complicating the matter of comparing the plans’ premiums.
The exchange came up with a seemingly ingenious but actually disingenuous way around this problem:
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