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Affordable Care Act Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Apr 1, 2014 - 4:49:44 PM

U.S. Insurers Fear Backlash Over New Obamacare Rate Increases

By Staff Editor
Apr 1, 2014 - 4:45:53 PM

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( - At the Reuters Health Summit in Washington, D.C. today, Chet Burrell, chief executive officer of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield said that "I do think that it's likely premium rate shocks are coming. I think they begin to make themselves at least partially known in 2015 and fully known in 2016. That will be different in different parts of the country. I don't think it will be uniformly the same."

"Do the premiums need to rise, just to cover the cost, to such a level that it creates both political heat, regulatory heat, finger-pointing, accusation?" Burrell said. "If that happened, then the environment becomes very difficult and it doesn't in a sense matter that you worked out all the details. You're at each others' throats because it just costs so much."

Insurers have already said that the first group of new enrollees under Obamacare, as the law is widely known, represent a higher rate of older and costlier members than hoped. To keep their health plans from losing money in the coming years, many expect monthly premium rates to rise by double-digit percentages. That could set the stage for a public outcry ahead of congressional elections this year, giving ammunition to Republicans and creating new friction with the White House that could endure into the 2016 presidential election.

You can read the full story online here. For more from the Reuters Health Summit this week, including interviews with Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Richard Burr, Cigna CEO David Cordani and Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan, visit


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