Study estimates 34.9% spike for NM when health care law takes effect

From Capitol Report New Mexico - People in New Mexico might face a big financial hit once the health care overhaul known as Obamacare takes effect. The Society of Actuaries has released a report that concludes claims costs in individual health plans which is expected to get more crowded as the Affordable Care Act kicks in will rise by an average of 34.9 percent in New Mexico and 31.5 percent throughout the U.S. once the landmark law is fully enacted starting in 2014. Why?
     According to a consulting actuary for the society, pools of high-risk patients are now expected to swarm toward individual health plans, thus offsetting any gains for insurers realized through higher volumes and the addition of lower-risk patients now being forced to get coverage. “The financial effect of those [high-risk] people used to be spread more widely,” Kristi Bohn told The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch. “Now they’ll all be in the individual market.”
     New Mexico may be taking an above-average hit but the people in Ohio are taking a gigantic one. The actuaries report estimates an 80.9 increase for the Buckeye state. While costs in individual plans are estimated to take a leap, the report does estimate that the percentage of uninsured in New Mexico will drop from 22.9 percent to just under 9 percent.
     “The major consequence of ACA is government expansion,” Dr. Deane Waldman of Albuquerque told New Mexico Watchdog. A pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Waldman has been a harsh critic of Obamacare. “This produces increased costs to insurance that they are passing on to consumers through higher premiums. For instance, the new regulatory application forms for insurance companies is 12 pages long, 10-point font,” he said in an e-mail. “The one prediction about all government bureaucracy that is certain is that it will always expand. The costs that the government will impose on insurance will continue to escalate, and insurance will continue to pass these on.” Read more