Health premiums are increasing dramatically in New Hampshire and according to Republicans in the State Senate during the debate over SB 148 the cause of the increase in premiums is the federal health care reform bill. Are we surprised?
“The rate of increase is phenomenal,” said Jean Pierre La Tourette, owner of Flora Ventures, a florist with 11 employees in Newmarket, N.H., near Portsmouth. When he was recently notified that the monthly premium for single employees at his firm was going up by $229, or 40 percent, to $789, Mr. La Tourette said, he felt “a combination of anger and frustration.”
Republicans are seizing on the trend as evidence that the new law includes expensive features that are driving up premiums. But the insurance industry says premiums are rising primarily because of the underlying cost of care and a growing demand for it.
What is causing these sharp increases in health insurance costs?
Some insurance industry lobbyists say the new federal health care law is driving up premiums. But Vincent Capozzi, senior vice president for sales and customer service at Harvard Pilgrim, said that only one percentage point of the increases here was attributable to the federal law, mainly its requirement for free coverage of preventive services.
According to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield the main drivers of costs are “an increase in medical trends, especially the utilization of services and the underlying cost of health care, for all small-group customers.”