Consumers who are re-enrolling in Obamacare this year could wind up paying more for their coverage next year if they are receiving federal tax credits, The Wall Street Journal reported.
An influx of new low-cost plans have flooded the market in 14 states, pushing down average prices of plans which in turn lowers the amount of tax credits enrollee's might receive given the value of credits is pegged to average plan prices.
To avoid an increase in their insurance costs, consumers would need to switch to lower cost plans to offset the decrease in credits they may be receiving.
"If you shop, there are big savings to be had," Jon Kingsdale, managing director at Wakely Consulting Group, an actuarial firm, told the Journal. "If you don't, you could be in for a rude shock."
Wakely is releasing a study Thursday that will show that consumers in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Mississippi will likely see the steepest decreases in their tax subsidies due to the introduction of new, low-priced plans, the Journal reported.
Consumers in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, and Montana will also see noticeable, albeit smaller, decreases in their tax credits. There will also likely be a modest downgrade in South Carolina, Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, Arkansas, New Jersey, and Ohio.
In two states running their own exchanges, Connecticut and Colorado, tax credits are also projected to decrease.
Meanwhile, the 2015 plans that were posted on HealthCare.gov for viewing this week show that premiums for many large plans have increased for next year.
"We are encouraging consumers enrolled in a marketplace plan to update their information and shop for a plan so they can get a plan that best fits their needs and budget," Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the Journal.
But the advice may be largely irrelevant given the government announced earlier in the year that it would be automatically renewing existing coverage for customers, while one expert said that very few people change their insurers.
"In health insurance, very few people change plans year to year," Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health, told the Journal. "People hate shopping for healthcare."
The future of Obamacare subsidies — and the viability of the healthcare law itself — was thrown into doubt last week after the Supreme Court agreed
to hear a case that would block the tax credits in 36 states.
The second annual enrollment period begins on Nov. 15.
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