Grading Exchange Premiums on a Curve
Statisticians working with insurers to project next year’s insurance premium rates say they expect to see an average increase of about 7%, well below the feared double-digit increases making recent headlines.
“The double-rate increases we’ve been hearing are probably exaggerated,” says Dave Axene, a fellow with the Society of Actuaries, adding that there would be wide variation across the country. “That’s not what we’re seeing from the actuarial organizations — I guess we’re being a little bit more optimistic.”
I find this to be a classic example of the ever changing curve Obamacare is graded on. As the article points out this is good news if you compare it to the doomsday predictions some Republicans highlight. When the story became about comparing reality to the dystopia Republicans claim the law will create it comes away looking good. The GOP has helped set the bar for success really low.
Yet if you compare it to Democrats’ bold promises of big individual savings when they pushed through the law or with international standards this is objectively a very disappointing number. A 7 percent increase is well above the rate of inflation or the growth rate of the economy. That is as bad as the situation was before the law was enacted. It is still unsustainable.
Significant premium growth should be unacceptable when we already have, by far, the most overpriced health insurance on the planet. Premiums should be flat or even dropping after a real reform.