America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) criticized the Health and Human Services Department for moving ahead with new restrictions on how insurers set their premiums.
AHIP wanted HHS to delay rules that say premiums for older patients can only be three times higher than the price for younger customers. But HHS said in final regulations Friday that it would not delay or phase in that requirement.
AHIP said that will contribute to “rate shock” for young people — a sudden jump in costs as several provisions of the healthcare law take effect all at once.
“Coverage needs to be affordable for individuals and families in order to achieve broad participation in the health care system,” AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said in a statement. “The new restrictions on age rating will result in an overnight increase in health care costs for people in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s.”
The healthcare law offers new protections for older, sicker patients — including the limits on age rating as well as the ban on charging higher prices because of pre-existing conditions. It aims to offset those expensive provisions by bringing younger, healthier people into the system.
But that system will fall apart if coverage becomes so expensive for young people that they choose to remain uninsured, AHIP warned. And it said immediate limits on age rating will have that effect.