Thanks Obamacare: North Dakota Insurance Customers To See 14.4 Percent Premium Hike

Remember when Obamacare was going to “bend the cost curve” on health care?

“Back in 2008, three eminent Harvard economists who were advising the Obama campaign—David Cutler, David Blumenthal, and Jeffrey Liebman—wrote a memo claiming that Senator Obama’s health-care plan could reduce national health spending by $200 billion a year,” reported Avik Roy for National Review last year. If that’s happening, the impact hasn’t reached North Dakota yet. The state’s largest insurer – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota – will be raising premiums by 14.4 percent after requesting a nearly 20 percent hike from Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm.

The reason? Rising health care costs, which Obamacare seems to have accelerated rather than slowed, as well as administrative costs stemming from complying with the new law:

FARGO – Reignited health care inflation is one factor driving an expected loss for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota’s health insurance operations for 2013.

The year-end numbers still are being compiled, but Paul von Ebers, the Blues’ president and chief executive officer, said the loss from its insurance coverage is softened by investment gains.

“Last year was better because of investment gains,” he said.

Administrative cost increases associated with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act also contributed to the loss, von Ebers told The Forum Editorial Board. …

The Blues had requested an increase of 19.5 percent, but Adam Hamm, North Dakota insurance commissioner, said he trimmed that to 14.4 percent.

Reporter Patrick Spring reports that “Blue Cross Blue Shield did not provide an estimate of the loss because figures are still being compiled,” but an earlier report had the company reporting a $17.8 million loss for one of its subsidiaries.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that BCBS pulled of the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid in North Dakota because they were “unable to assume the financial risk.”

BCBS is by far the largest insurance provider in North Dakota, so a rate hike from BCBS means most in North Dakota are going to feel it in the pocketbooks thanks to Obamacare which North Dakotans overwhelmingly oppose.

You know, the law Senator Heidi Heitkamp has said over and over again she’d rather not see repealed. Maybe someone should ask her if she still feels that way.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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