Recently the NH Union Leader posted an article — Surveys: NH health premiums up 90%; more people insured under Obamacare — about the Affordable Care Act and your insurance premiums that was so full of holes I could strain pasta with it.
The article explains Morgan-Stanley surveyed NH insurance brokers and they claim that insurance premiums have increased by 90% on average.
The NH GOP and Senator Scott Brown were quick to jump on the news in an attempt to gain support for repealing the ACA.
“Morgan Stanley’s healthcare analysts conducted the proprietary survey of 148 brokers.” (Forbes)
After reading the report, I found that Morgan-Stanley only questioned one broker in New Hampshire. This means the claim that premiums increased by 90%, was only one persons assessment. Would you believe that a report is representative of NH with an interview from one person? That is like taking your crazy uncle Larry as a representative of the entire State of New Hampshire.
At least Dave Solomon was fair in sharing some of the opposition to the Morgan-Stanley report.
“Lisa Kaplan Howe, policy director at New Hampshire Voices for Health in Concord, said the Morgan-Stanley report is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the reality on the ground, since it surveyed only insurance brokers.
‘Many of the people who enroll in individual market coverage enroll on their own, through the website or through assisters,” she said. “So just talking to brokers isn’t getting the full picture.’”
There is no denying that insurance rates go up every year. This is no different from the price of milk, eggs, or Big Mac’s. This was just one of the reasons that Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in an effort to slow the rapidly rising costs of healthcare.
There is one place that does more than survey insurance brokers’, they calculate insurance premium costs for all Granite Staters. Danielle Kronk Barrick, Director of Communications for the NH Department of Insurance, also investigated these claims by Morgan-Stanley, and this is what the DOI found.
Premium rates in New Hampshire, in the aggregate, did not go up 90%. An independent actuarial analysis modeling the Affordable Care Act impact on New Hampshire policyholders found that, on average, NH policyholders will realize an 8% rate decrease after subsidies.
Individual experiences may vary significantly. The Department stands ready to review and consider any consumer’s experience. People who have received a rate increase they are concerned about should contact the Department.
We would like to see the survey, but we were told it was proprietary and confidential. We don’t understand how Morgan Stanley is able to generalize what’s going on in the New Hampshire market based on talking to 158 brokers nationally.
We do data-driven analysis based on what’s happened in the past and have actuarial projections. We also review rate increases and do not approve any increases that cannot be justified with data.
The truth is that not everyone saw savings after the Affordable Care Act was passed, but overall more Granite Staters saw a decrease in their premiums than those who saw an increase.
More information from the NH DOI on Healthcare Premiums
Here is a link to our projections, which were done by Gorman Actuarial in 2012 — we reviewed and approved the 2014 rates, and they were in line with Gorman’s projections: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/reports/documents/gorman_nh_mktstdy_kf.pdf
For more context, here is a link to our 2013 annual report: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/reports/documents/nhid_ann_rrhrng_2013rpt.pdf
Consumers may reach the New Hampshire Insurance Department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (603)271-2261.