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article imageOhio — Consultant firm predicts record premium increases

By Larry Clifton     Nov 3, 2013 in Politics
Columbus - Open enrollment is underway for Ohio employer-based health insurance and a growing number of employees are seeing their premiums soar.
As Obamacare kicks in, Ohio companies like those in other battleground states are forewarning workers of the largest rate hike in seven years, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
According to Employee-benefits consultant Aon Hewitt, health care policies will cost about $10,777 per employee. The cost includes employer-paid portion and represents about a 7 percent increase, the largest jump in seven years.
Insurance premiums increased 3.9 percent for 2013 and 4.9 percent the previous year. By comparison, nationwide, employees’ portion of health-care costs are expected to average $4,969 in 2014, representing a 150 percent increase over 10 years.
Ohio insurers include Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio, CareSource, Medical Mutual of Ohio and UnitedHealthcare.
Steven Keller, Aon Hewitt vice president and practice leader in central Ohio, said 2014 rates have been driven up somewhat by new fees, including a $63 fee per covered person included in the Affordable Care Act. The fee is meant to help insurance companies pay for high-cost patients who buy insurance policies through government-run marketplaces.
Many Ohio companies are reducing costs by limiting the eligibility of their workers’ spouses to be on their health plan, or charging them extra, according to Mercer, an Insurance consultant company.
“They’re (employers) very concerned about where their costs are today, and they’re very concerned about where their costs are going to be five years from now,” said Jason Beaver, a Columbus-based principal in Mercer’s health and benefits business.
At the same time Employers are bracing for costs associated with the so-called “Cadillac tax,” which becomes law under Obamacare in 2018.
The Affordable Care Act excise tax on high-cost health plans that employers offer includes superior plans that cost $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage. Many companies have began to dump or downgrade premium health care plans to hold down costs and so as to comply with Obamacare.
Another rising cost for patients comes in the form of high deductibles as insurance companies try to share the rising cost of health care with patients.
More about Obamacare, Ohio, governor John Kasich
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