By the Editorial Board
The Times-Tribune (Scranton, PA), July 29, 2016
Health insurance companies made their pitch this week to state regulators for rate increases next year, and the prospects provide bad news for consumers.
Insurers seek double-digit increases on individual health insurance policies, citing their own rising costs. Discouraging examples include a 17.2 percent increase proposed by Aetna Health Inc., 25.4 percent to 48 percent advances projected by Highmark and 19.9 percent to 22.5 percent sought by Independence Blue Cross.
Proposed increases for individual health plans provide a glimpse at what could come for group insurance rates that many employers offer to their workers. State regulators must approve individual rates before open enrollment begins in November.
Although the Affordable Care Act has slowed the rate of increase in health coverage in recent years, costs continue to advance far ahead of nearly nonexistent inflation. The move by insurers to boost individual policy rates so substantially for next year provides a reminder of the superiority of transitioning to a single-payer health insurance system. That method would contain costs more effectively and eliminate the huge amount of money spent annually on billing and administration that form a cornerstone of the nation’s wasteful, bureaucratic and unnecessarily complicated health insurance system.