Blue Cross Blue Shield: Premiums will cost everyone more in 2014

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) is warning that its customers will face sticker shock with premiums next year because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”

Many of the 2010 law’s key provisions kick in next year, including the requirement for all Americans to have health insurance.

BCBST, the state’s largest insurance provider covering more than 3 million Tennesseans, is projecting that individual policy holders will see average premium increases around 30 percent, while small group customers will pay about 10 percent more. Large employers will see a 3 to 5 percent spike, BCBST officials said.

In an information campaign that includes a website — — BCBST cites these factors driving the rate

• Guaranteed coverage. ACA requires health insurers to accept all individuals and employer groups who apply for coverage regardless of their health status.

• Pre-existing conditions must be covered. Chronic conditions, according to BCBST, will add costs and impact premiums for individual customers.

• ACA requires insurance companies cover an essential health benefits plan set by the federal government. Before ACA, insurers faced fewer requirements on benefits and less restrictions on coverage benefits, BCBST pointed out.

• New taxes and reinsurance fees to help fund provisions in ACA. BCBST said it will face $200 million in new taxes and fees.

• Age rating restrictions that will lower costs for many older consumers, but raise expenses for younger, healthier members, according to BCBST. A healthy 25-year-old male, for example, will pay 62 percent more in an individual insurance premium, company officials stressed.  (Read More)


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