State officials sounded the alarm Wednesday on Capitol Hill about skyrocketing ObamaCare premiums as insurers across the country propose double-digit rate hikes – renewing pressure on Congress to act.
Insurance commissioners and officials from Alaska, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Washington state all testified before a Senate committee on the 2018 premium hikes, which are being finalized over the next few weeks.
In Alaska, premiums have increased 203 percent since 2013, according to Lori Wing-Heier, the state’s director of the Division of Insurance.
“On average, the increase means that an Alaskan in the individual market who was paying a monthly premium of $344 per month in 2013 is paying $1,041 per month in 2017,” Wing-Heier told the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee.
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak told the panel he has been warning about “spiking rates” for too long and those warnings “have been ignored at the federal level.”
“Oklahoma is facing the collapse of our individual health insurance market,” Doak said, adding that the state has seen a rise in premiums of 130 percent over the last four years.
“It is time for serious leaders to make serious decisions to help out the people of every state as we move into 2018.”
And in Tennessee, proposed 2018 premium increases are between 21 and 42 percent, according to Julie Mix McPeak, the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
The testimony from insurance commissioners prods lawmakers once again to try and overhaul the Affordable Care Act, after repeated efforts over the summer failed.