The price of the most popular level of health insurance sold under the Affordable Care Act will drop slightly next year, the first time rates have dropped since the law was implemented, The New York Times reports.
According to figures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released on Thursday, the average premium for the second-lowest-cost plan, which provides midlevel coverage, will fall by 1.5 percent in 2018.
“Though the average decrease is small, it is a dramatic and very positive change from the double-digit increases experienced over the past two years,” CMS administrator Seema Verma told the Times.
Benchmark premiums for a 27-year-old will average $406 per month next year, depending on state. Tennessee likely will see the most dramatic reduction at about 26 percent, while North Dakota will have the largest increase at about 20 percent.
“While some have publicly been accusing us of sabotage, the reality is that we have been working hard to do everything we can to mitigate the damage caused by Obamacare,” she added. “Our actions have succeeded.”
The Times notes that insurers demanded large rate increases following heavy loses in the first few years after the ACA was implemented, and to make up for the uncertainty caused the failed efforts to repeal it. Kaiser Family Foundation insurance expert Cynthia Cox told the newspaper that “individual market insurers are currently so profitable that it would be hard for many companies to justify a rate increase.”
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