Do Health Insurers Deserve the Latest Public Hit?

by Dan Diamond, California Healthline Contributing Editor

The federal health reform law arguably wouldn’t have passed Congress if not for health insurers — a dubious and accidental achievement, in the eyes of many payers.

Anthem Blue Cross’ early 2010 decision to hike rates by as much as 39% provided the political cover for some House Democrats to back the reform bill, which at the time was idling in Congress. Seizing the moment, the legislation’s supporters bashed insurers’ behavior and argued that reforms would slow premium hikes while ending the industry’s worst practices, like rescinding coverage from sick patients.

New federal grants help states monitor insurance premiums

From: The St. Louis American

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a second round of grants totaling nearly $200 million to help states develop programs that will make health insurance premiums more transparent. The new funds would also empower states to stop unreasonable premium increases. 

Last August the first funding round awarded $46 million to help 45 states and the District of Columbia crack down on unreasonable premium hikes. New rules proposed in December 2010 require insurance companies to publicly justify unreasonable premium rate increases. 

Employers weigh next step in health care

Reform could lead to some companies dumping coverage

By Guy Boulton of the Journal Sentinel

When he first got into the myriad details of federal health care reform, what struck Daniel Cahalane, the president of American Roller & Plasma Coatings LLC, was that the penalty for not offering health benefits to employees was a fraction of their actual cost.

Cahalane wondered if the company’s largest competitors would drop their health benefits, forcing American Roller to do the same to remain competitive.

For now, the Union Grove company has no intention of doing that.

Proposed federal bill may increase UNC-system health care costs

Premiums may double in system

By Jen Serdetchnaia | The Daily Tar Heel

A proposed federal regulation might change the administration — and significantly increase costs — of student health plans at universities nationwide, including the UNC-system plan that was introduced last semester.

University health insurance plans have come under scrutiny for having a greater profit margin than the typical individual health insurance coverage, while not providing students sufficient coverage.

The proposed regulation released last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would categorize student health plans as individual health insurance coverage.

Broken Promises: How Obamacare Undercuts Existing Health Insurance


From the Heritage Foundation

To sell his overhaul of the United States health care system, President Barack Obama repeatedly assured Americans that if they liked their current health insurance plan they could keep it under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This broad assurance was designed to disarm opposition from the great majority of Americans who have health insurance and are satisfied with it. Americans did not stop to parse the President’s assurance; they took him at his word.