Aetna CEO: Health Insurance Premiums Could Double Under Obamacare

Friday, 28 Dec 2012 08:01 AM

By Michael Kling

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Health insurance premiums will rise and in some cases could double under Obamacare, predicts Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini.

"If we're going to insure all Americans, which I think is a worthy and appropriate cause, then somebody has to pay for it," Bertolini told CNBC.

Premiums could double depending on what kind of policies people buy, he said.

Editor's Note: An $87,500 Tax Loophole Discovered by Cherry Hill Accountant

Higher premiums won't equal larger profits for Aetna, Bertolini told CNBC, saying new insurance customers will likely be sicker because they have been uncovered up until now.

Plus, Obamacare won't start the way people had hoped and it won't be cheaper.

Controlling healthcare costs will eventually decrease premiums, but only over the long term, he said. "It will be fits and starts, but we'll get there."

Speaking at a conference earlier this month, Bertolini said premiums will increase 25 to 50 percent on average in the small-group and individual insurance, Bloomberg reported.

However, others disagree with Bertolini’s projections.

“That just seems silly,” Gary Claxton of the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation told Bloomberg. “I can’t imagine anything going on in the small-group market that would change the average premium that much. On the individual market, there’s arguments for things changing, but those magnitudes seem high.”

The Obama administration says middle-class families will save money under Obamacare, and the Congressional Budget Office says the new health care law will have little impact on employers' health plans, according to Bloomberg.

The Obama administration said that middle-class families will save up to $2,300 a year starting in 2014 by buying insurance through new online exchanges.

The CBO estimated that the law will prompt individual premiums to increase 10 to 13 percent. After including subsidies, individual premiums will decline about 60 percent.

Editor's Note: An $87,500 Tax Loophole Discovered by Cherry Hill Accountant

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