Medical Claims May Jump 32% for Individuals Under PPACA

Medical claims from the individual health insurance market could rise as much as 32 percent beginning next year under the health reform law, primarily as a result of sicker people entering the insurance market, according to a study from the Society of Actuaries. Group plans are unlikely to be significantly impacted.

As a result, individual policyholders may see their premiums rise — drastically in some states. Although some states may see the individual rates drop, by 2017 the individual insurance market in California could see medical claims shoot up 62 percent, and Ohio may see 80 percent hikes, according to a report on the study by USA Today.

At a White House press briefing, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged some may see premium rates rise, particularly the young, who now cannot be charged as low for insurance relative to older policyholders as in the past. However, Secretary Sebelius said various government insurance subsidies would help offset such price increases, according to the report.

The secretary also expressed some doubt in the report's accuracy, but former Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster, known to be nonpartisan, said the report does "a credible job" of estimating the impact health reform's insurance regulations will have on the market, according to USA Today.

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