Cooper: Breaking even would be a plus

The website, where people can buy health insurance through federal exchanges, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington.

Although the annual scenario begins to sound like a broken record - perhaps something hideous by Milli Vanilli - it is important to again note the rate increases insurance companies must ask for to pay for the health care coverage they offer through the federally run Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Their goal, of course, would be to get to even for the year - to have the insured pay premiums that would equal what they dole out for services to doctors and hospitals. But in doing so, they must determine what they can charge subscribers to keep their business.

Figuring it out is no easy feat, as insurance companies are happy to tell you. And they also admit they haven't come close in the first four years of the ACA exchanges.