Aetna: Premiums Will Go Up While Enrollment Projections Go Down

Mark Bertolini, Aetna’s Chief Executive Announced That Premiums Would Rise In The States That Aetna Sells Plans On The ObamaCare Exchanges. “Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini says premium increases in those 17 states, which encompass 132 rating areas, will be quite literally all over the map in 2015.” (Jason Millman, “Aetna: Late ObamaCare Changes Account For Half Of 2015 Premium Increases,” The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog, 4/24/14) 

  • Bertolini: In Some States, Premiums “Will Be Over Double Digits.” “He said those increases will range from ‘the very low single digits’ to ‘some that will be over double digits.’ That depends on the number of members, the demographics of memberships and what limited information the company has about new members, he said.” (Jason Millman, “Aetna: Late ObamaCare Changes Account For Half Of 2015 Premium Increases,” The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog, 4/24/14)

Bertolini Also Noted That Actions Taken By The Obama Administration To Delay Parts Of ObamaCare Will Account For “Half Of The Company’s Premium Increases.”  “Bertolini said about half of the company’s premium increases, whatever they turn out to be, will be attributable to ‘on the fly’ regulatory changes made by the Obama administration. He cited as an example the administration’s policy of allowing old health plans that were supposed to expire in 2014 to be extended another three years if states and insurers wanted to.” (Jason Millman, “Aetna: Late ObamaCare Changes Account For Half Of 2015 Premium Increases,” The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog, 4/24/14)

Aetna’s Premium Increase Projections Are In Line With Estimates From Other Insurers

Many Insurers Anticipate Double-Digit Increase In Premiums As New ObamaCare Enrollees Have Skewed Toward Older And Costlier Enrollees. “But insurers have already said that the first group of new enrollees under Obamacare, as the law is widely known, represent a higher rate of older and costlier members than hoped. To keep their health plans from losing money in the coming years, many expect monthly premium rates to rise by double-digit percentages in some parts of the country.” (Caroline Humer and David Morgan, “U.S. Insurers Fear Backlash Over New ObamaCare Rate Increases,” Reuters, 4/2/14)

  • Chet Burrell Of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield: “I Do Think That It’s Likely Premium Rate Shocks Are Coming.” “‘I do think that it’s likely premium rate shocks are coming. I think they begin to make themselves at least partially known in 2015 and fully known in 2016,’ said Chet Burrell, chief executive officer of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. ‘That will be different in different parts of the country. I don’t think it will be uniformly the same.’” (Caroline Humer and David Morgan, “U.S. Insurers Fear Backlash Over New ObamaCare Rate Increases,” Reuters, 4/2/14)

Today’s Aetna Announcement Also Revealed That Fewer People Are Expected To Pay Their ObamaCare Premiums Than Previously Expected

According To Aetna, 450,000 Out Of 600,000 – Approximately 75 Percent – Of Its ObamaCare Enrollees Are Expected To Pay Their First Month’s Premiums. “So far, a total of 600,000 people have signed up for Aetna plans on the exchange though the company is expecting only 450,000 of them to pay.” (Shannon Pettypiece, “Aetna Says First-Quarter Earnings Beat Analyst Estimates,” Bloomberg, 4/24/14)

  • Aetna’s Updated Numbers Fall Below The 80 Percent Average Of ObamaCare Enrollees That Have Paid Their Premiums. “On average, about 80 percent of those who have signed up for a plan have actually paid their premiums.” (Shannon Pettypiece, “Aetna Says First-Quarter Earnings Beat Analyst Estimates,” Bloomberg, 4/24/14)

In February, Aetna Announced That 80 Percent Of Their ObamaCare Customers Had Paid Their Premiums. “Aetna and Health Care Services Corp., two of the country’s largest insurers, told POLITICO that through February, about 80 percent of their exchange customers had paid.” (Kyle Cheney, “So How Many Have Paid ACA Premiums?” Politico, 3/13/14)

More Bad News For Colorado Senator Mark Udall

A New Poll Released Today By Quinnipiac University Found That Colorado’s U.S. Senate Race Is “Virtually Tied.” “Colorado’s U.S. Senate race between Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat Mark Udall is virtually tied, according to a new poll that shows the economy and health care are influencing voters.” (Lynn Bartels, “Gardner, Udall In A Dead Heat In Senate Race, Quinnipiac Poll Finds,” The Denver Post, 4/24/14)

Udall’s “Approval Ratings Have Dropped And Fewer Voters Think He Should Be Re-Elected.” “Sen. Udall is leading Congressman Gardner 45 percent to 44 percent, but the senator’s approval ratings have dropped and fewer voters think he should be re-elected, a Quinnipiac University poll released early Thursday shows.” (Lynn Bartels, “Gardner, Udall In A Dead Heat In Senate Race, Quinnipiac Poll Finds,” The Denver Post, 4/24/14)

  • Quinnipiac University’s Poll Found That Coloradans That Don’t Believe Udall Should Be Reelected By A 6-Point Margin – 46 Percent Say He Does Not Deserve To Be Elected And Only 40 Percent Say He Deserves To Be Reelected. (Quinnipiac University, 1,298 RV, MoE 2.7%, 4/15-21/14)

According To Quinnipiac, Udall’s Job Approval Has Dropped 3 Points Since February. “In Quinnipiac’s February poll, Udall’s approval rating was 45 percent to 41 percent.” (Lynn Bartels, “Gardner, Udall In A Dead Heat In Senate Race, Quinnipiac Poll Finds,” The Denver Post, 4/24/14)

Obama And ObamaCare Will Continue To Be A Drag On Udall’s Reelection Prospects

“Colorado Voters Disapprove 59 - 38 Percent Of The Job President Barack Obama Is Doing.” (“Economy, Health Care Hurt Udall In Colorado Race, Sen. Rand Paul Leads 2016 Presidential Pack,” Quinnipiac University, 4/24/14)

  • Quinnipiac University’s Poll Found That Coloradans Disapprove Of Obama’s Handling Of The Economy By A 23-Point Margin – 60 Percent Disapprove And Just 37 Percent Approve. (Quinnipiac University, 1,298 RV, MoE 2.7%, 4/15-21/14)

  • Additionally, Coloradans Disapprove Of Obama’s Handling Of Foreign Policy 60 Percent To 36 Percent. (Quinnipiac University, 1,298 RV, MoE 2.7%, 4/15-21/14)

  • “Disapproval Is 65 - 32 Percent Among Men And 54 - 44 Percent Among Women.”(Economy, Health Care Hurt Udall In Colorado Race, Sen. Rand Paul Leads 2016 Presidential Pack,” Quinnipiac University, 4/24/14) 

“Colorado Voters Oppose The Affordable Care Act 59 Percent To 37 Percent, The Poll Found.” (Lynn Bartels, “Gardner, Udall In A Dead Heat In Senate Race, Quinnipiac Poll Finds,” The Denver Post, 4/24/14)

  • Independents Oppose ObamaCare By A 28-Point Margin – 62 Percent Oppose And 34 Percent Approve. (Quinnipiac University, 1,298 RV, MoE 2.7%, 4/15-21/14)

As Grimes Stays Mum, Anti-Keystone Allies Come To Her Rescue

A Super PAC Intent On Destroying The Keystone XL Pipeline Is “Pledging Support” For Alison Lundergan Grimes. “Alison Lundergan Grimes’ lack of specificity in the Keystone XL Pipeline debate is not stopping an anti-Keystone Super PAC from pledging support for her Kentucky U.S. Senate campaign and other Democratic candidates in four other key states.” (Joe Arnold, “Anti-Keystone Super PAC To Mobilize For Grimes Vs. McConnell,” WHAS, 4/23/14)

“CREDO Super PAC Hopes To Spend $2.5 Million This Year To Help Democrats Keep The Senate.” (Jaime Fuller, “Progressive Super PAC To Help Dems In Five Close Senate Races – But Not Pryor And Landrieu,” The Washington Post¸4/23/14)

  • “Environmental Issues Are A Main Focus For CREDO Super PAC, Especially Fighting The Keystone XL Pipeline.” (Jaime Fuller, “Progressive Super PAC To Help Dems In Five Close Senate Races – But Not Pryor And Landrieu,” The Washington Post¸4/23/14)

CREDO SUPERPAC Is Based In San Francisco, CA. (Federal Election Commission, Accessed 4/23/14)

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES REFUSES TO TELL KENTUCKIANS WHERE SHE STANDS ON THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE

Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) “Has Avoided Taking A Position” On Keystone.” “Similarly, Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is running to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has avoided taking a position on the project.” (Andrew Restuccia, “Keystone Non-Decision Keeps Some Democrats On The Hot Seat,” Politico, 4/18/14)

FLASHBACK: Before A Susie Tompkins Buell Fundraiser,Grimes Met With San Francisco Bay Area Activists Last November And Discussed A Host Of Issues Including Keystone XL And Climate Change. “Grimes held court with more than a dozen San Francisco Bay Area activists prior to a Buell fundraiser on topics ranging from women’s issues, immigration and filibuster reform to Keystone XL and climate change, according to one attendee. And her views on issues outside of environment and energy policy may be what attracted backers like Buell — as well as an endorsement from EMILY’s List, which supports Democratic female candidates who favor abortion rights.” (Darren Goode, “Election 2013: Greens Face Dilemma On Backing Alison Lundergan Grimes,” Politico, 11/11/13)

  • Buell Is “An Outspoken Opponent Of Keystone XL.” “Buell, who has been an outspoken opponent of Keystone XL, didn’t offer any details about the Grimes’s fundraiser, including the amount of money raised.” (Darren Goode, “Election 2013: Greens Face Dilemma On Backing Alison Lundergan Grimes,” Politico, 11/11/13)

Keystone Isn’t The Only Energy Issue Grimes Won’t Discuss

Earlier This Year, Grimes Refused To Say Where She Stands On Coal-Fired Power Plants And Whether She Supports Cap-And-Trade Legislation.  “In an interview that the campaign limited to less than nine minutes, Grimes declined three times to say whether she opposes new federal emission regulations on coal-fired power plants, instead raising more general concerns about burdensome restrictions on Kentucky’s coal sector. She wouldn’t explicitly say whether she opposes cap-and-trade legislation to control global warming, saying instead there are ‘too many regulations’ on businesses. [A spokeswoman later said that Grimes does, in fact, oppose cap-and-trade.]” (Manu Raju, “Bluegrass Bravado: Untested Alison Lundergan Grimes Takes On Mitch McConnell,” Politico, 1/23/14)

  • Grimes Declined To State Her Positions On A Host Of Issues Including Drilling In ANWR And Taxes. “In the interview, Grimes wouldn’t say whether she’d back oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (when pressed, she said she’d ‘consider’ it). She brushed aside a question about raising taxes for families who earn more than $250,000 — saying only that the budget shouldn’t be balanced on the ‘backs of hard-working Kentuckians’ and attacking McConnell for ‘looking out for the top 1 percent.’” (Manu Raju, “Bluegrass Bravado: Untested Alison Lundergan Grimes Takes On Mitch McConnell,” Politico, 1/23/14)

Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s Support Of ObamaCare Could Cost Jobs And Revenue

The Union Leader: “Among ObamaCare’s Myriad Negative Effects On Small Businesses Could Be This: Shorter Ski Seasons In New Hampshire.” (Editorial, “Downhill: ObamaCare Vs. Ski Areas,” New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/21/14)

  • “Similar Problems Could Hit Summer Resorts.” (Editorial, “Downhill: ObamaCare Vs. Ski Areas,” New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/21/14)

Greg Goddard, GM Of Gunstock Ski Resort In New Hampshire, Is Considering Shortening The Ski Season Because Of ObamaCare’s Requirement To Provide Health Coverage To Employees Who Work 120 Days. “At a forum on the Affordable Care Act held last week, Greg Goddard, general manager of Gunstock Ski Resort, said the resort might shorten its season because it cannot afford to offer health insurance to its full-time seasonal employees who work for more than 120 consecutive days, as the law requires.” (Editorial, “Downhill: ObamaCare Vs. Ski Areas,” New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/21/14)

  • Goddard: “We May Not Be Able To Open Beyond 120 Days.” “‘We may not be able to open beyond 120 days; it may be Christmas to the middle of March … the summer season may be the fourth of July until Labor Day,’ he said.” (Editorial, “Downhill: ObamaCare Vs. Ski Areas,” New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/21/14)

A Shortened Ski Season Could Cost New Hampshire Jobs And Revenues

According To An Economic Impact Survey By The State’s Ski Association (Ski NH), The Ski Industry Rang Up “$1.15 Billion In Direct And Secondary Sales.”  “New Hampshire’s ski industry last year added a record $1.15 billion in direct and secondary sales to the state, according to an economic impact study released Thursday. Ski NH, the statewide association representing 33 downhill and cross country resorts and more than 200 lodging properties in New Hampshire, officially released its 2012-13 economic impact study.” (Paula Tracy, “New Hampshire Ski Industry Adds Record Sales To State Tourist Market,” WMUR, 2/22/14)

  • New Hampshire’s Ski Industry Made Up 45.3 Percent Of Total Traveler Spending In The Northern And Western Regions Of The State. “During the five-month winter skiing season, skier spending made up nearly half of total traveler spending in the northern and western travel regions at 45.3 percent.” (Paula Tracy, “New Hampshire Ski Industry Adds Record Sales To State Tourist Market,” WMUR, 2/22/14)

Consumer Spending On Skiing Supported An Average Of 11,067 New Hampshire Jobs. “Direct and secondary spending at and away from ski areas during the period between May 2012 and April 2013 supported an annual average employment of 11,067 jobs.” (Paula Tracy, “New Hampshire Ski Industry Adds Record Sales To State Tourist Market,” WMUR, 2/22/14)