Oregon Insurers vying to lower premiums because of Obamacare

This is awfully cool.  Health insurance companies in Oregon are trying to lower their premiums, in order to compete with each other, ever since the state started publishing a policy-by-policy comparison online, per the requirements of Obamacare.

It seems the insurers suddenly discovered that if one of them charges people $169 a month, and the other $422 a month, for the same coverage, people might just choose the former rather than the latter.

It’s an amazing story.  And it’s exactly what Obamacare is intended to do.  Make it easier for consumers to compare insurance policies.  Currently it’s a zoo.  I tried comparing plans a few months ago, and couldn’t make heads or tails of the plans even within my own insurer, let alone between companies.  Hopefully all that will soon change.

And insurance experts say that what’s going on in Oregon is only “a taste” of what’s to come.

Having said that, all is not gold.  People on the individual market might be seeing premium increases as a result of insurers having to now cover people with pre-existing conditions.  But, we also should, hopefully, see a lot more healthy people buying plans as well, to avoid the law’s penalties, so that should hopefully help even out premiums.

I know with my CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, it actually went down last year, for the first time, before going up a sizable amount this year I now pay $587 a month in premiums.  When I checked on the “new” Obamacare plans in DC, the ones that don’t have annual limits on prescription drug coverage (my current plan has a $1500 annual limit on prescription drugs), the monthly would be $764.  That’s 30% more just for the prescription drug coverage.  They really are bastards.

But of course, if I don’t get the prescription drug coverage, then I’m subject to the other bastards, America’s pharmaceutical industry, and the politicians, of both parties, they’ve bought off.  Americans pay up to five times what Europeans pay for the same prescription drugs made by the same pharmaceutical companies.  Big Pharma simply charges Americans more, because they can.  In Europe, many governments negotiate lower prices.  So if you dont pay more for the premium, you pay more for the prescription drugs.

Best health care in the world, unless you get sick.  Then it’s not so good.

Still, it’s a positive sign that at least there’s some competition coming somewhere from all of this.  Hopefully, once things move into full gear this fall, we’ll see real savings across the country – at least in blue states.  Red states that are refusing to implement Obamacare can pray for God to pay their hospital bills.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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