Brace yourselves, Obamacare users: Starting next year, there will be a 25 percent average increase in the benchmark premium for 38 states participating in the Affordable Care Act online marketplace, according to a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Despite the hikes, the report still states that 72 percent of “current marketplace enrollees can find a plan for $75 of less in premiums per month.” The report also encourages consumers to switch plans in order to shave costs on premiums, noting that “if all consumers switched from their current plan to the lowest premium plan in the same metal level,” there would be a 20 percent reduction in premiums. The report overlooks what benefits might be lost if consumers switched to a lower plan.
The report follows a string of high-profile exits by health-insurance providers from Obamacare marketplaces earlier this year, the most recent being Aetna’s decision in August to pull out of 11 of the 15 states where it had offered plans under Obamacare marketplaces. A few months before that, UnitedHealth Group pulled out of most of its marketplace plans. As a result of these exits, about 20 percent of participants will only be able to choose plans from a single insurer next year, the Associated Press reports. As options decrease for consumers, the remaining health-insurance companies may also increase prices.
The report states that, nationwide, the number of overall health-care insurers will drop to 167, down from 232 last year. But this estimate may be inflated, as insurance companies are counted multiple times if they offer coverage in more than one state.