Obamacare Rate Hikes as High as 34% in Montana

Obamacare rate hikes could be as high as 34% in Montana next year, according to the AP.  Plus, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Medicaid expansion hasn’t had the financial impact that was anticipated for hospitals. 

AP: Montana Health Insurers Ask for Double-digit Rate Hikes; Proposed increases range from 22 percent to 34 percent over 2015’s approved rates

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana is asking state regulators to approve an average increase of about 22 percent over the rates approved in 2015 for its individual plans. PacificSource is asking for an average 32 percent increase. The Montana Health Cooperative is requesting an average 34 percent increase.

The companies found the claims they paid out in 2014 were much higher than they expected when the online marketplace launched in 2013. For all three companies, the claims paid exceeded the premiums they took in that year, the first year the Affordable Care Act was in effect.

WSJ: Hospitals Expected More of a Boost From Health Law; Expansion of Medicaid hasn’t had the financial impact that was anticipated

The health law’s expansion of Medicaid in many states hasn’t benefited nonprofit hospitals in those states as expected, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service.

Performance improved across the board—including in the mostly Republican-led states that opted out of the law’s Medicaid expansion—as the economy gained steam last year and unemployment declined.

In expansion states, hospitals’ unpaid bills fell 13% on average last year compared with 2013, the report found. But, their 2014 operating margins didn’t increase any more than hospitals in the 22 states that have sat out the expansion, the report shows.

The Hill: GOP open to extending ObamaCare subsidies

House conservatives are hinting at support for a temporary extension of Obama-Care subsidies if the Supreme Court cripples the law, even as they set up a working group to develop their own plan.

The high court is set to rule later this month in the case of King v. Burwell, which could invalidate subsidies for millions of people in at least 34 states using the federally run marketplace. Republicans say they need to be ready to address people losing their coverage, but have yet to coalesce around a plan.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) called it a “bad idea to continue the subsides, especially for the length of time that Senator Johnson is suggesting.”

“There may have to be some transition period,” he added. “But the transition period that people are talking about is more like within the year rather than three years.”

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