“Rob, you’ve got to post on the recent BCBS premium hikes,” a reader emailed me last night. “I’m seeing it all over Facebook, but NOBODY in the media is writing about it. We got kicked in the teeth for $75/mo, and we’re on the low plan. I’ve seen as high $150/mo. UNREAL. Why is something that affects some people so much financially not being reported anywhere?”
That’s a good question. Premium hikes on the national level have been getting plenty of attention, but there’s been no local reporting that I could find about health insurance rate increases here in North Dakota.
So I went looking for information today, and the cost of health insurance is absolutely accelerating in the state thanks to Obamacare.
“In 2013, BCBSND requested a 12.2% increase in the individual market; the Department approved 10.3%,” Andrea Fonkert, Public Information Officer for the North Dakota Insurance Department, told me via email today after I requested information about rate increases. She provided with me data for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota because they have a dominant share of the state’s market, well over 90%.
Of course, not all of that rate increase in 2013 for individual policy holders was Obamacare.
“There was an increase this year in direct and indirect costs/fees related to PPACA,” Fonkert wrote me. “If that wasn’t the case, the increase this year would have been approximately the same as last year.”
Last year’s increase in the individual market, per the chart below provided by the NDID, was 7.5%. Which means that more than 27% of this year’s rate increase is directly attributable to Obamacare.
Group policy increases are more modest. “Group rates are submitted quarterly by BCBSND,” Fonkert told me. “There was no group rate increase in 2013 Q1. In 2013 Q2, BCBSND requested 1.7% and the Department approved 0.5% for group rates.” She went on to note that a portion of this increase was, again per Fonkert, attributable to Obamacare.
Apologists for Obamacare will be quick to point out that premium costs for health insurance policies were growing well before Obamacare, and that’s true. They were growing in response to the growing cost of health care. Unfortunately, though Obamacare was sold as “bending the cost curve” on health care and health insurance, what it has actually accomplished is an acceleration of health insurance and health care costs across the nation.
Including in North Dakota.