Jack Beckner: Health reforms not increasing rates | SummitDaily.com

Jack Beckner: Health reforms not increasing rates

Jack Beckner, Dillon
AARP Congressional Liaison, District Two

There’s been much concern expressed in the media recently suggesting that our new health care law (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, effective Sept. 23, 2010) was the chief cause for rising health insurance premiums. That is a myth. Our own Colorado Division of Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison, in a Nov. 4 press release, says “…what may be eye-opening for some people is that federal health reforms have contributed from zero to a maximum of 5 percent of those increases. It’s not the primary cause for increasing rates.”

In fact, the increase in health insurance premiums can be attributed more to people visiting the doctor more often, and more expensive lab tests due to an overall aging population. The average health status of Americans is decreasing.

Finally, aggressive pricing on the part of carriers follows a pattern. According to the same DORA release that says by offering lower premiums to new customers to make coverage more attractive, carriers then adjust premiums for current policy holders to cover the loss of revenue from the new customers. Typically, the discounted premiums are adjusted to higher levels over the next few years.

Federal changes have minimally affected premium costs. As a responsible society, we have an onus to exercise discipline over our insurance carriers and their industry.

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