As Affordable Care Act losses mount for insurers, the only question is which of two actions will they take? Some major players have all but left the market. The other alternative is passing on large rate increases.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has done just that this week, announcing a 19% increase for 2017, after they lost $280,000,000 on ACA plans because people with high deductible plans go to the Emergency Room more. Aetna announced 23% in the same state.
The very flawed theory:
“Patients without health insurance do not seek primary care and therefore end up in hospital emergency departments, something that drives up costs. By providing these patients with access to health insurance, they will seek out primary care or urgent care when necessary, but ER visits will decline, and therefore overall costs as well.
According to Blue Cross data, the opposite has happened. These ACA customers are actually visiting emergency rooms more than patients with more traditional insurance plans, driving up medical expenses for the insurer. Those higher costs led Blue Cross to file for another rate increase – 18.8 percent for 2017, on top of the 32.5 percent rate increase approved for 2016.”
When you consider the deductibles on Bronze plans are $500-$6850, this is hardly a surprise.