A drafter of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) says health insurance industry actuaries are painting a misleading picture of how PPACA will affect the cost of coverage.
Christopher Spiro, a health policy specialist at the Center for American Progress, talked about PPACA rate shock predictions Monday at a PPACA health insurance rate hearing organized by the House Energy & Commerce oversight subcommittee.
Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., the subcommittee chairman, said he convened the hearing because he and many other Americans are wondering, “Will Obamacare increase the cost of my health insurance?”
Uccello talked about the AAA’s consensus view that predicting just how the PPACA health insurance exchange program and PPACA health insurance product requirements could affect coverage prices after Jan. 1, 2014, is complicated.
“How premiums will change depends on many factors, including the effectiveness of the individual mandate and premium subsidies at attracting low-cost enrollees into the insurance market,” Uccello said, according to a written version of her testimony posted on the committee’s website.
Changes in premiums will also depend on “the new benefit requirements that may lead to higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs, employer decisions regarding whether to continue offering insurance and the health status of those whose coverage is dropped, how each state’s current issue and rating rules compare to those beginning in 2014, and each individual’s demographic characteristics and health status (and income when determining premiums net of subsidies),” Uccello said.
Carlson, an actuary at Oliver Wyman, talked about reviews of 2014 rate filings for the top three health insurers in Oregon, Maryland and Vermont.
In Oregon, for example, the average premium rates the top insurers have filed reflect an increase of 36 percent to 53 percent over current premium rates, Carlson said.
Carlson also defended the actuaries making the rate increase forecasts against allegations of bias.
“The actuarial profession has a strong reputation of professionalism and independence,” Carlson said. “While many actuaries work and consult with health insurance companies, we also work with regulators and consumer advocacy groups, and our professions high standards of professionalism always come first. This is illustrated in our code of professional conduct which, among other things, requires actuaries to act honestly, with integrity and competence, not be influenced by conflicts of interest, and only perform work where we are properly qualified.”