Insurance Commissioner Doak says his ObamaCare “fears have been confirmed”

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Commissioner of Insurance John D. Doak says individual health insurance premium rates in the state will jump dramatically in the coming year. The estimate from the state Department of Insurance which Doak administers is based on filings from insurance firms selling health policies in the Sooner State. 

This week, Doak said Oklahomans can expect to pay more for policies under the Affordable Care Act’s “federally-facilitated marketplace.”

“Our fears have been confirmed. For some consumers, the cost of health insurance will increase significantly. This is more proof that ObamaCare will hurt Oklahoma families and businesses. I continue to support Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s lawsuit to overturn this overreaching and potentially disastrous federal law,” Doak said. 

Pruitt has emerged as a leading national critic of ACA implementation. Under his direction, the state has filed a lawsuit challenging many provisions of the legislation, including the Internal Revenue Service rules punishing “large employers” (including governments) with penalties if exchanges are not created within a state.  Oklahoma is one of 34 states in that category. 

While actual rates for individuals will vary depending on factors such as age, location and tobacco use or non-use, the projected cost hikes will include both new policies in 2014 and renewal of existing policies, due to implementation of the federal legislation widely dubbed “ObamaCare.” 

According to Doak, the increased rates are driven by:

• The morbidity factor or market risk of guaranteed-issue entrants with no annual or lifetime limits;

• The incorporation of Essential Health Benefits to make plans ACA compliant;

• Taxes and fees being passed through the rates to the consumer.

Frank Stone, chief actuary for the state agency, said, “From an actuarial standpoint, this confirms the obvious. Insurers must increase their premiums due to the additional requirements of ObamaCare.” In the small group market, which has had guaranteed issue in Oklahoma since 1995, the rate hike will range from 10-25 percent, Stone said.

Doak’s staff pointed out that Individual consumers may not have to pay the full premium because of federal tax credit subsidies. As Doak pointed out, the subsidies create “additional hidden cost to Oklahoma taxpayers.”

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