While the real numbers won’t be released until July, California’s Obamacare premium rates are set to spike 8 percent for 2017. Premiums have risen often since the passing of Obamacare, which is prompting millions of Americans to pay the penalty to remain uninsured because it works better for their finances. UnitedHealth has incurred horrific losses since they dabbled in the Obamacare market, totaling more than $1 billion. They have all but left that market to save their business. Yet, the premium spike and the sticker shock was an iceberg we all saw coming (via CNN):
The projected rate increase in California, included in the exchange's proposed annual budget, comes amid growing nationwide concern about insurers seeking double-digit premium hikes in the health law's insurance marketplaces.
Any increases in California, a closely watched state in the health law rollout, are sure to draw intense scrutiny during a presidential election. Republicans are quick to seize on rate hikes as further proof that President Barack Obama's signature law isn't doing enough to hold down health care costs for the average consumer.
Insurers in California have submitted initial rates for 2017, but the final figures won't be known until July after state officials conduct private negotiations.
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, underscored that the estimate was preliminary but said some one-time factors under the Affordable Care Act mean "2017 will be an adjustment year" for rates.
The nation's largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group (UNH), already has said it will exit all but a handful of state exchanges after suffering substantial losses on individual policies. Lee declined to comment on whether UnitedHealth has submitted a bid to continue selling in Covered California next year.
I’m guessing they did.