Tags: insurance | soar | Florida | Ohio

Insurance Premiums Set to Soar in Obamacare Exchanges

Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013 12:38 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Americans in many states are facing the possibility of significant increases in the cost of their healthcare if they buy insurance through state-based exchanges set-up under Obamacare.

Florida's premiums could jump anywhere between 7.6 percent and 58.8 percent, depending on the insurer; an average increase of 35 percent, according to a report by CNN Money.

Cost increases are also expected in Indiana and Ohio. Indiana officials said prices would rise an average of 72 percent, though that figure relates to the cost of care, not actual premiums. And Ohio has said there would be an average increase in premiums of 41 percent.

"President Obama's big government healthcare bill was supposed to bend the cost curve down. Instead, the average individual premium payer is out nearly an extra $100 a month," said Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman.

"That's money that could be going toward retirement, groceries, and their children's higher education; instead it's going to cover President Obama's costly mandates."

Under Obamacare, all Americans must have insurance coverage starting in 2014 or pay a penalty. For those buying their own plans, state insurance exchanges are being established which offer a four-tiered system of plans patients can choose from.

While every insurer must offer a package of basic benefits and cover all who apply, patients who need additional comprehensive coverage could be forced into more expensive plans than the ones they're paying for now.

Premium rate increases, however, may not be as steep in other states that already require insurers to offer basic coverage to all who apply, according to CNN, and in fact could see decreases in their premiums.

The Obama administration has pointed to data from a recent Department of Health and Human Services study suggesting 11 states where premiums will fall or come in lower than expected, CNN reported.

Advocates of Obamacare say premium increases will be a reflection of people receiving more comprehensive coverage, while the law limits the amount people have to pay out-of-pocket for deductibles and co-pays to $6,350 in 2014.

"A lot of people will get more for their money," Sarah Lueck, senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told CNN. "Even people paying a higher rate will benefit. It will be a big change in most states."

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