Kaiser’s Obamacare rates surprise analysts – latimes.com
By Chad Terhune
In California’s new state-run health insurance market, Kaiser Permanente will cost you.
The healthcare giant has the highest rates in Southern California and some other areas of the state, surpassing rivals such as Anthem Blue Cross and other smaller competitors. The relatively high premiums from such a strong supporter of the federal healthcare law surprised industry analysts, and it has sparked considerable debate about the company’s motives.
Some experts say Kaiser intentionally bid high to avoid drawing too many customers next year who are sick or who have been uninsured for years and may be costlier to treat. Others suspect Kaiser was worried that lower premiums would bring an influx of newly insured patients that could overwhelm its in-house roster of doctors and hospitals.
Making health insurance affordable is a crucial factor in the expansion of coverage to an estimated 5 million Californians — many of them lower-income and the uninsured — who will be eligible for a state-run exchange next year. Price will be paramount to many consumers, even for those who receive federal subsidies to help lower their costs.
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