|By Winthrop Quigley, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
That's the take of Insurance Superintendent
The division had expected proposed premiums would be more than 10 percent more expensive, he added.
The federal Affordable Care Act establishes electronic marketplaces, known as health insurance exchanges, that are intended to increase competition among insurance underwriters and make it easier for individuals and small companies to buy insurance. The act, also known as Obamacare, requires that exchanges be ready to enroll customers
Obamacare requires insurance companies to accept all customers regardless of medical history or condition, and prohibits companies from charging higher rates to customers who are sicker.
The end of this medical underwriting had some experts worrying that premiums would soar as insurance companies sought to offset the higher risks that come with insuring everyone, regardless of health status.
Instead, Franchini said,
"The (insurance exchange) rates are approximately the same as in the standard market, which is a real success story," Franchini said. "If it costs an extra 5 percent so that everyone can have health insurance, that's a gift. That's a good thing."
The law allows rates to be higher for customers who use tobacco. Companies also can charge higher rates to older customers and can charge different rates depending on whether a customer lives in the
For example, a 40-yearold individual who doesn't use tobacco and who wants HMO coverage in
The proposed rates are posted on the division's web site, http://www.nmprc.state. nm.us/insurance/index.html. The public has 30 days to comment on the proposals.
The rates and contracts can take effect only after they are approved by the insurance division. Franchini said the companies may also modify their proposals.
Franchini said his division will do a detailed analysis of the proposed rates.
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