2018 may see big Obamacare premium rate hikes - Sovereign Health Group
Articles / Blog
05-22-17 Category: Mental Health

Primary data released by the state insurance departments suggests that health insurance companies nationwide are seriously considering a massive hike – as high as a whopping 53 percent – in Obamacare premiums in the midst of the escalating public disgruntlement with the Trump administration’s stand on basic health care issues.

Data indicates Anthem, a trusted health insurance provider that covers 35,000 people in the state of Connecticut, plans to increase premiums by 33.8 percent, while BlueChoice, an insurance provider in Maryland covering 160,000 individuals, has sought a 53.4 percent hike. Similarly, another 295,000 Americans enrolled in individual plans in the Virginia marketplace also face an average increase of 30.6 percent.

So far, five states – Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia and Vermont – and the District of Columbia have made public the requests for 2018 premium rate hike from Obamacare insurers. Trends suggest that in the future, several Obamacare enrollees might end up paying a lot more than what they are currently.

However, at the moment it would be advisable to not treat these numbers as final figures, rather consider them as an opening bid in a negotiation with the state insurance departments. Though the number certainly points toward the direction in which the rate could be increased, the final figures are subject to the judicious evaluations of authorized insurance commissioners. So, there is a large possibility that some of the bloated figures might come down a bit during the final negotiation process.

What is the reason behind such a massive rate hike request?

It may be extremely challenging to attribute the proposed rate hike in entirety to the Trump administration’s stand on the future of Obamacare. However, there are certain indicators which claim that the present government has driven up the rates. CareFirst, a leading marketplace carrier in the Washington metropolitan area, imposed an additional 15 percent onto its rates over doubts about the Trump administration enforcing the individual mandate. In fact, many health insurance companies across the country feel that the present uncertainty will force the premiums to go up in 2018, irrespective of what happens with the Republican health care bill in the coming months.

Some insurers expressed their deep concerns about a “shrinking market” or sicker enrollees in their rate filings as the major reason that will drive up the rates. “We are forecasting that the individual market will continue to shrink and that those individuals with greater health care needs will be the most likely to purchase coverage and retain their coverage, thereby accelerating the trend of increased morbidity. This dynamic is driven by a guaranteed issue market with rating constraints and an individual mandate penalty that continues to be far less than the cost of coverage for most individuals,” said Anthem to regulators in Connecticut, justifying its request for rate increase.

America’s mental health crisis

Mental health problems are real and more people experience them than one can imagine. Millions of Americans nationwide are affected by wide ranging mental conditions every year. These problems are characterized by abnormalities in thinking patterns, feelings or behaviors. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2015, there were over 43 million people aged 18 years or older in the country – representing about 18 percent of the entire adult population – with any mental illness (AMI) within the previous year.

Sadly, for some reason or the other, the society has made it exceedingly difficult for those suffering from mental health problems to be vocal about it. Innumerable Americans face concerns over manifesting mental health symptoms, but the complex nature of these conditions prevents them from expressing what they are going through due to the fear of being misunderstood or ridiculed. Unfortunately, they may never disclose their conditions due to the attached stigma and shame.

In the past few decades, significant research on mental health has led experts to shed light on the recurrent and chronic nature of such debilitating conditions. However, most general health practitioners tend not to give mental health issues the same priority as other chronic physical health ailments such as diabetes and hypertension. It is ridiculous that speaking about the disorders of the mind are still considered taboo when people do not hesitate to discuss other physical ailments openly.

Mental health professionals suggest that the approach to psychiatric illness management should be on the same lines as in the case of other chronic conditions, which demand regular check-ups, monitoring treatment adherence, effectiveness and tolerability, and spreading awareness on the disorder to patients and their families. Professional intervention from a trained, empathetic and licensed mental health expert can help the suffering individual to live a healthier and more productive life. In fact, why should someone wait until they experience some sort of mental illness-related suffering, when it doesn’t hurt to explore the possibility.

Nobody would have come across someone who has broken a bone accidently while playing a sport and not sought immediate medical treatment for relief from pain and future complications. However, when it comes to mental illness, people generally do not have the same approach. They not only tend to avoid seeking professional help, but are also quick to dismiss the seriousness of the topic. Additionally, another major reason which makes people overlook the serious nature of mental health disorders is that there are still many people who have limited access to specialty mental health care, in addition to lack of insurance coverage. The truth is the right mental health expert, rather than any mental health expert, can make a huge difference in eliminating an endless cycle of ineffective medications or treatments.

Sovereign Health can help

An early mental health diagnosis from a reputed and professional psychiatric services provider is essential to nip the problem in the bud or else it can be immensely devastating. Sovereign Health is a leading provider of behavioral health treatment services that offers a gamut of care and high-quality treatment services to adult and adolescent patients affected by mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California offers a variety of customized mental health treatment programs for all kinds of mental health disorders as well as any underlying health condition. Patients can opt for individual and group psychotherapy, or alternative therapies for mental health to regain control of their lives. You may call at 24/7 helpline or chat online to know about our most effective treatment options.

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