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Congressional Health Care Reform Proposals Will Make Health Care More Expensive, Less Robust for Ohioans

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ohio Association of Health Plans (OAHP) today warned that Ohioans could experience higher health care premiums and less robust benefits if proposals being considered by Congress as part of comprehensive health care reform were to become law.

If the reforms proposed by the Senate Finance Committee were enacted, average claims per member in Ohio would increase 60% over five years in the individual market and 24% in the small group market, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Oliver Wyman and America's Health Insurance Plans.

Premiums on the individual market in Ohio could increase 49% over ten years and 28% over ten years in the small group market.

The House health care reform proposal, which will be debated and voted on before the Senate bill, would strip $170 billion from Medicare Advantage over ten years. This would have a catastrophic effect on the nearly 500,000 Ohio seniors who rely on Medicare Advantage plans to get their health care.

The cuts to the Medicare Advantage program are likely to mean fewer benefits and higher out of pocket costs, while many seniors could be at risk of losing their coverage altogether.

"Our leaders in Congress made a promise to Ohioans that health care reform would make care more affordable for everyone and that you could keep your coverage if you were satisfied with it," said Kelly McGivern, president and CEO of OAHP. "What we're seeing with the proposals which are being debated in Washington is promises made, promises broken."

Recent research has shown that health care in Ohio will become even more expensive as a result of the current legislation that does not include a workable individual mandate; would impose excise taxes that will be passed on to premiums; and taxes high-value health plans and cost-shifts as a result of significant cuts to Medicare Advantage.

A recent actuarial analysis conducted by WellPoint, which has a major presence in Ohio, estimates premium increases at 122% for individuals of average age and heath.

McGivern concluded, "From the beginning of the health care reform debate, Ohio health plans have been firmly in the camp of reform. We agree that health care costs too much, that everyone needs to get covered and that we have to act to improve quality.

"Unfortunately, the proposals being considered by Congress would do nothing to make health care more affordable for working families and individuals in Ohio - and they could strip coverage away from thousands of seniors statewide."

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on its version of health care reform legislation this weekend or early next week. The U.S. Senate is awaiting a fiscal estimate by the Congressional Budget Office before unveiling its final version of health care reform legislation.

SOURCE Ohio Association of Health Plans

SOURCE Ohio Association of Health Plans
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