Premium Premiums? RI Employers Paying Higher Than National Average For Employee Health Coverage
Business Wire reports.
When it comes to national average costs for health plans, Rhode Island employers are paying 13 percent more for employee single coverage and six percent more for employee family coverage, according to a study by USI Insurance Services’ (“USI”).
Lovely! Another item to add to our … er, enticing business climate.
By the way, wasn’t one of the purposes of the, it turns out, remarkably expensive health insurance exchanges mandated by ObamaCare supposed to be to lower health care costs by, among other things, bringing competition to each state? Yet a recent press release from Governor Chafee’s office bragging on the state’s health insurance exchange omits any mention of competition. Even more interesting, the author of the Business Wire article points to this somewhat baffling statement by the state’s Office of Health Insurance Commissioner.
Slade said, “The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner for Rhode Island has stated publicly that more competition won’t help solve the cost problem which we find interesting given the fact that we have less competition here than almost any other market of comparable size and possibly the absolute worst average costs.”
A couple of questions pose themselves. First of all, why is Rhode Island spending many millions of tax dollars – our federal tax dollars now, our state tax dollars later – to create a health exchange when it apparently will not, after all, bring competition into the mix?
Secondly, why did the Office of the Insurance Commissioner say what they said? Do they not want competition? Are they diminishing the importance of that element because it is now clear that the health exchange will not confer it? Or are they acknowledging that it is, in fact, the excess regulations and requirements heaped upon the insurance industry in this state by the RI General Assembly that play a large role in the higher health insurance and health care costs in the state?
I’m starting to feel that we’ve been snookered by the hype that preceded the health insurance exchange. It’d be nice to get some honest answers about all of this.