I doubt if too many people in the know are surprised that the CBO has released a report showing that the new health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is going to cost at least $115 billion more over the next 10 years than they estimated before it was passed. So the total estimated cost is now well over $1 trillion, and I have no doubt that we’ll see real costs far exceed that.
In order to come up with numbers below $1 trillion when trying to pass the original bill, lawmakers also included a provision that would reduce payments who treat Medicare patients by 21 percent. Well, surprise surprise, there is now a bill being taken up in the House, the American Works, State and Business Relief Act of 2010, H.R. 4213, which would delay this payment reduction. Expect this payment reduction to be delayed, eventually, forever.
Insurance companies in the individual market have mostly eliminated any rate guarantees (previously most plans came with a 12 – 24 month rate guarantee), because they are anticipating major rate increases in conjunction with some of the upcoming changes. The most immediate and severe impact will likely be on rates for children, since all underwriting on dependent children will be eliminated starting September 23.
If you have a child with a serious health problem, the good news is that you will now be able to add them to your policy. However, everyone who has a child covered will be paying for their care through sharply increased premiums. The insurance companies have not revealed any new rates yet, but I anticipate 100 – 200% rate increases on children.