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Obama Warns Health Insurers Not To Hike Rates
U.S. President Barack Obama warned insurance firms on Tuesday not to use his healthcare overhaul as an opportunity to enact big rate increases and said the federal government would work with states to monitor them.
"Insurance companies ... shouldn't see it as an opportunity to enact unjustifiable rate increases," Obama said, after meeting with state officials and insurance company executives.
Obama said companies must publicly justify any rate increases on both the federal health Web site and their own sites, adding that there are "genuine cost drivers that are not caused by insurance companies." Read more.
While most people in the U.S. get health insurance through their employer, about 14 million people under age 65 have coverage through the non-group or individual market, which has faced scrutiny recently in news reports about some insurers’ steep rate increases and in the market reforms in the new health reform law that will take effect in 2014.
This survey provides insight into the current state of the non-group market and finds policyholders report that their insurers most recently requested premium increases averaging 20 percent. Most say they paid the increase, but some say they switched plans, either buying a less expensive policy from their current insurer or switching companies altogether.
The survey also provides national data on the average premiums and deductibles reported by people who buy their own coverage in the non-group market. It examines policyholders' views and experiences with non-group coverage and a focused look at the issues facing policyholders with pre-existing conditions.
The survey involved a nationally representative random sample of 1,038 people ages 18-64 who purchase their own health coverage, conducted between March 19 and April 2, 2010. Read the report.