Indiana inaccurately claims premiums will rise 72% under reform


Although Indiana announced Thursday that individual health premiums would rise 72 percent throughout the state next year, that figure isn't completely accurate.

The Indiana Department of Insurance said in a statement that individual plans could increase from $255 per month to $570 per month in 2014. The department further claimed the surge in prices results from reform law provisions, including requiring insurers to cover pre-existing conditions and provide minimum essential benefits, reported the Indianapolis Star.

"This new data regrettably confirms the negative impact of the Affordable Care Act on the insurance market in Indiana," Logan Harrison, chief deputy insurance commissioner, said in the statement. He told the Star the higher rates serve as a "great example of the shortcomings of the federal, one-size-fits-all approach."

But Indiana's new rates won't likely be much more expensive than the rest of the country. That's because the insurance department's $570 monthly estimate is an average of all premiums--including bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans--The Washington Post's Wonkblog reported.

Even a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services official called Indiana's projections misleading. "Indiana has not released any specific rates for the marketplace next year, and instead has averaged the rates across all the plans, which does not represent what any Hoosier will end up paying for coverage in 2014," the HHS official, who requested anonymity because the agency hasn't approved any of the plans, told the Star.

By releasing  one combined number for premium costs, Indiana provided only one data point from all the information insurers submitted about their plans' costs. "That's like saying the average cost of a car in an Indiana dealership is $100,000 because it sells $20,000 Fords, $60,000 BMWs, and $220,000 Lamborghinis--technically true, but highly misleading," Sy Mukherjee wrote in a blog post for ThinkProgress.

To learn more:
- read The Washington Post's Wonkblog article
- check out the Indianapolis Star article
- here's the Indiana insurance department statement
- see the ThinkProgress blog post

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