Health Insurance Actuaries in the Hot Seat on ‘Rate Shock’ - Kaiser Health News
By Jay Hancock
KHN Staff Writer
Apr 18, 2013
Few aspects of the Affordable Care Act are more critical to its success than affordability, but in recent weeks experts have predicted costs for some health plans could soar next year.
Now health law supporters are pushing back, noting close ties between the actuaries making the forecasts and an insurance industry that has been complaining about taxes and other factors it says will lead to rate shock for consumers.
“Most actuaries in this country — what percentage are employed by insurance companies?” Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, asked an actuary last week at a hearing of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
The committee was discussing a study published last month by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) predicting that, thanks to sicker patients joining the coverage pool, medical claims per member will rise 32 percent in the individual plans expected to dominate the ACA exchanges next year. In some states costs will rise as much as 80 percent, the report said.