We’re familiar with a lot of different types of taxes; from sales and income to property and estate taxes. But, we may be facing something new when it comes to health insurance….an uncertainty tax. Ok, it’s not really a tax, but it could act like one.
The Trump administration’s own actions are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many consumers, a nonpartisan study has found.
The analysis released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that mixed signals from President Trump have created uncertainty “far outside the norm,” leading insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than would otherwise have been the case.
The Kaiser Family Foundation report looked at proposed rates for coverage in 21 large American cities next year. While some cities are projecting small increases or even none at all, others are bracing for a huge jump in premium prices.
According to TheHill.com, “It’s possible the rates could change, the analysis noted, as insurers still lack certainty about whether the federal government will continue critical payments to insurance companies or enforce the penalty for going without health coverage.
“We still would have seen premium increases in many of these states even without the political uncertainty,” said Cynthia Cox, a co-author of the analysis and associate director for Kaiser’s Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance.
“But if the Trump administration had been more clear about what the rules were going to be for next year, we would likely have seen much smaller premium increases,” she said.
MSNBC broke it down like this, “It’s relatively straightforward: when private insurers don’t know about the fate of existing federal subsidies, they need to protect themselves against potential future losses imposed by Republicans. It’s Business 101.”
We may be spared some of the sharpest increases here in Arizona. The excerpt below is from a recent story on U.S. News & World Report:
“A year after Arizonans were hammered with huge premium increases, a major provider of Individual health insurance said Monday a stabilizing market means price increases will be much lower next year than in 2017.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona Vice President Jeff Stelnik said that premiums will rise an average of 7.2 percent next year, and some plans will have no increase at all. That’s far less than the 51 percent average premium boost Blue Cross imposed in January, and less than the 12 percent average increase all insurers imposed in 2016.”
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the uncertainty surrounding the future of health care coverage and whether you believe that uncertainty will lead to higher premiums in some parts of the country. We’d also like to know if you think Arizona’s increases can stay low next year or if the uncertainty might drive them a bit higher? Creating a forum to discuss the important health issues all of us face is another way we are working to not only keep the lines of communication open…..but also to make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!