Affordable Care Act Not So Affordable: Texas’ Largest Insurance Provider To Hike Rates 60% In 2017

Health care costs
Daniel Barker
June 14, 2016

Contrary to all the promises, the increasingly exorbitant cost of health insurance under Obamacare is beginning to be revealed as Blue Cross Blue Shield prepares to implement a 60 percent rate hike for individual policies in its Texas market.

The increases will affect more than half a million Texans who are now enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield – if approved, the new rates will go into effect in 2017.

From The Dallas Morning News:

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has about 603,000 individual policyholders and, unlike other insurers in the state, offers coverage in every county. In a recent filing with federal regulators, the company said it is seeking increases averaging from 57.3 percent to 59.4 percent across its individual market plans.

“In a statement, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas said its request is based on strong financial principles, science and data. ‘It’s also important to understand the magnitude of the losses … experienced in the individual retail market over the past two years,’ the statement said. The company says it lost $592 million last year and $416 million in 2014.”

Among the worst affected in Texas will be those who live in rural areas where Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only coverage available.

Texas is not alone

Texas, the third-biggest market under the Affordable Care Act after Florida and California, is not the only state that will see significant rate hike increases in 2017, suggesting that the ACA is not so affordable, after all:

“With data available for about half the states, premium increases appear to be sharper, but there are also huge differences between states and among insurers. Health insurance is priced locally.

“A recent analysis of nine states by the consulting firm Avalere Health found that average premium increases for the most popular kind of plan ranged from 5 percent in Washington state to 44 percent in Vermont.”

The rate increases throughout the country are in response to huge financial losses for insurers that have been caused by low enrollment, higher-than-expected cost of medical care for many patients and “problems with the government’s financial backstop for insurance markets.”

Some policyholders are eligible for government subsidies that typically cover more than 70 percent of premiums, but many people are ineligible of such protection, including “small business owners, self-employed people and early retirees.”

For many, dropping coverage will be the only option

There is a real concern that many people will simply be forced to drop their coverage, even at the risk of paying fines.


“In a country where the cost of living is going up on virtually all fronts but wages and jobs are not increasing, exactly who is going to be able to afford this insane rate hike? And that’s just to pay for the insurance in case you get sick…”

“Affordable health care for all” was a lie – Obamacare has accomplished precisely the opposite and the evidence of this continues to mount as Texas and other states witness skyrocketing premium costs.

Mike Adams, founder/editor of Natural News and author of the new book “Food Forensics” said:

“As this is happening, your employer will either go out of business trying to cover your skyrocketing health care costs, or — more likely — slash your hours to make you a part-time employee with no health insurance coverage. You’ll then need a second job to make up the lost income from the first job, and you still won’t have health coverage because you’re part time at the second job, too. So you’ll need a third job just to raise enough money to pay for a crappy health care plan with a $20,000 deductible. But you don’t have $20,000, so if something serious happens to you, you’re basically bankrupt, jobless and ultimately homeless.”

Thanks, Obama…

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Fed Results? Social Polarization and Economic Debasement


Why the Fed’s historic rate hike is good news and bad news for the economy. Yellen says rate hike shows Fed’s confidence the U.S. economy is strengthening … — LA Times

Dominant Social Theme: The Fed takes care of the economy, and this is the way it must be.

Free-Market Analysis: The good news is that the economy is recovering, according to this article. The bad news is that the Fed has started the clock running on the business cycle once again. As rates go up, economic activity gradually slows.

Aware of this as she must be, Janet Yellen has made a point of pledging that the Fed will not move too fast raising rates. Fed officials will do so, she confirms, only when the data shows hikes are warranted.

One catch: Is the data trustworthy? Obviously, Yellen thinks it is. Here’s some more from the article:

The major significance of the long-awaited rate increase could be more psychological. Yellen described the hike as a major turning point in the nation’s efforts to put the Great Recession behind it.

“This action marks the end of an extraordinary seven-year period during which the federal funds rate was held near zero to support the recovery of the economy from the worst financial crisis and recession since the Great Depression,” Yellen said.

“It also recognizes the considerable progress that has been made toward restoring jobs, raising incomes and easing the economic hardship of millions of Americans.”

This was apparently the reason the hike was so important and why the Fed struggled to mightily proclaim it. The Fed persevered because a statement needed to be made.

From the point of view of Fed officials, the ability to declare a hike provides evidence that the system works and that a handful of individuals can indeed make decisions to benefit billions of people around the world.

Of course, there are alternative viewpoints regarding the Fed, and we mentioned one significant perspective yesterday in an article that compared the Fed to the politburo.

The politician making the comparison was Rand Paul, who is currently running for president as a libertarian/conservative.

Rand’s main point – one we have made many times – is that central banks fix the value and volume of money via interest rate manipulation. He wondered how it was possible that academic and media observers could look at the facility with approval, considering the negatives of price-fixing are widely known.

But there are other negative assessments of the system and its operations. In a recently published article entitled, “What Does Today’s ‘Rate Hike’ Mean?”, Paul Craig Roberts provides us with one specific way that setting a rate hike benefits some institutions at the expense of others.

First, he establishes, shockingly, that there is plenty of liquidity in the system and that monetary demand did not drive up the price of money. “The purpose of raising interest rates is to choke off credit demand, but there was no need to choke off credit demand when the demand for credit was [mild].”

He then makes an even stronger statement:

This “rate hike” is a fraud. It is only for the idiots in the financial media who have been going on about a rate hike forever and the need for the Fed to protect its credibility by raising interest rates.

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