As Congress continues to debate the new health care law, health insurance costs are still rising, particularly for small businesses, as noted in this New York Times article. As Congress continues to debate the new health care law, health insurance costs are still rising, particularly for small businesses. Republicans are seizing on the trend as evidence that the new law includes expensive features that are driving up premiums. But the insurance industry says premiums are rising primarily because of the underlying cost of care and a growing demand for it.
As an example:
- In New Hampshire, more than 90 percent of private employers have fewer than 50 employees.
- This year, groups of more than 20 workers have been experiencing premium increases of around 20 percent.
- Smaller groups are seeing increases of 40 percent to 60 percent or more.
Some insurance industry lobbyists say the new federal health care law is driving up premiums. But Vincent Capozzi, senior vice president for sales and customer service at Harvard Pilgrim, said that:
- Only one percentage point of the increases here was attributable to the federal law, mainly its requirement for free coverage of preventive services.
- Another percentage point results from new state laws requiring coverage of hearing aids and certain treatments for autism, Mr. Capozzi said.
Most of the remainder, he said, reflects increases in the use and cost of medical care by small-group customers, with adjustments for demographic characteristics like age. Read more…