Don’t live in Maryland if you want to have health insurance; CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the largest insurers in the area, has requested a 58.8% increase in premiums for next year in that state. It’s almost as bad in Virginia, where the company wants a 35% increase.
According to The Washington Post, Chet Burrell, chief executive of CareFirst, acknowledged what has long been predicted, that Obamacare is in a death spiral as healthy clients opt out of insurance leaving insurance companies holding the bag for a greater number of unhealthy clients. He told the Post:
What we’re seeing is greater sickness levels. The pool of beneficiaries is becoming sicker, in part because healthier people are not coming in at the same level we hoped … We were hoping for more stability. The factors that I have described to you today lead to instability and to a spiral, and we think we are in the beginning of that.”
As the Post notes, “The CareFirst announcement is a worrisome sign for insurers facing deep uncertainties about the political and regulatory environment next year. When large premium increases were approved for 2017, many health policy specialists and supporters of the Affordable Care Act argued those were a one-time correction because companies had priced their products too low when they entered the nascent marketplace … The CareFirst rate request, which is not final, suggests that despite evidence the market is stabilizing, insurers in some areas are struggling and the flux around the future of health care is taking its toll.”
It’s not just CareFirst; three other insurers have filed rate requests ranging rom 18 to 37% increases