Tags: Healthcare Reform | Obamacare | costs | health | insurance

Obamacare Costs Rising 20 Percent for Some

By    |   Saturday, 15 Nov 2014 05:03 PM

If you liked the Obamacare plan you bought last year, you can probably keep it, but it will likely cost you more this time around.

According to data unveiled by the Obama administration on Friday night shortly before the health insurance marketplace opened enrollment for 2015, costs for some recipients could go up as much as 20 percent unless they switch to a lower-cost plan, reports The New York Times.

Typically, price increases will be around 5 percent for the least-expensive silver-level plan and 4 percent for the second-cheapest, according to the pricing data released by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, advised customers to shop around, as there are many new options this year and they are "likely to find a better deal."

However, Republican critics were quick to jump on the new data, including Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is in line to become the next chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

"Last year, many who liked their plan were surprised to learn they couldn’t keep it," Hatch said. "This year, many who like their plan will likely have to pay more to keep it."

And for many people who are satisfied with their coverage, the higher costs will mean they'll have to change to different plans if they don't want to pay more. According to a new Gallup Poll, seven out of 10 Americans say their coverage is good and plan to keep it.

Lower priced premiums may not bring the same levels of satisfaction, however. Such policies often carry much larger annual deductibles, and policy owners could end up paying hundreds of dollars more in out-of-pocket expenses before their insurance coverage kicks in.

People who switch policies could also have to pay more for their doctor visits and prescription medications, The Times reports. In addition, when the price for a low-cost benchmark plan drops, the federal subsidies for the plan also could be less.

Carolyn Pearson, vice president of Avalere Health, a research and consulting company, said the price swings will likely continue for another year or two before they stabilize.

Prices did increase more sharply in places where there are fewer plans being offered, reports The Times, with costs for the least-expensive silver plan going up by at least 5 percent in 89 percent of counties with a single insurer and 10 percent in about a quarter of the counties with one or two companies offering plans.

Further, this year there are large numbers of plans with high deductibles, defined by the Internal Revenue Service as being $1,300 or more.

But Obama administration officials said that more insurers are offering plans, and consumers have a choice of about 40 plans, on average, which is up from an average of 31 plans last year.

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If you liked the Obamacare plan you bought last year, you can probably keep it, but it will likely cost you more this time around. According to data unveiled by the Obama administration on Friday night shortly before the health insurance marketplace opened enrollment for...
Obamacare, costs, health, insurance
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2014-03-15
Saturday, 15 Nov 2014 05:03 PM
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