|By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates an average of 25 percent on those who buy coverage individually.
People with pre-existing conditions were denied coverage prior to health care reform, keeping insurance costs down.
In recent years, rates for individual insurance coverage have risen an average of 7 percent to 11 percent, according to various studies.
"We have always supported the intent and goal of the Affordable Care Act, but this is the practical result of it by opening the pool to everybody," Burrell said.
The rate increase must be approved by the
"I want to stress that these rate filings reflect the carriers' requested rates," said Maryland Insurance Commissioner
The rate proposals are for health insurance plans that would be offered under a state exchange -- an open marketplace where people would be able to shop for insurance. Most people would continue to purchase insurance through job-based plans separate from the exhange.
Burrell said small businesses purchasing through the exchange would see
Older individuals could see decreases under the proposed rates, but younger people could see increases of as much as 150 percent, reflecting limits on how much rates can vary based on age, Burrell said.
Insurance companies around the country have been warning about higher rates because increased fees required under health care reform and the higher expense to cover more people, said
"What all these companies are doing is they are trying to pass it along," Heupel said.
Advocates for health care reform have argued that it ultimately will help stem rising costs and may even reduce premiums as more people are required to buy insurance. Part of the law is designed to limit insurance companies' profits. But even advocates acknowledged that insurers would raise rates for many at first.
Other insurers proposed lower rate increases than
"It is a brave new world and there is great deal of uncertainty," said Dr.
"While we have taken great care to ensure that our projections are as accurate as possible, health exchanges are new territory for the industry, and many uninsured individuals will be entering the market for the first time," said