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Premium Increases Under ACA Not Drastic, But Likely


Premium rates for health plan policies in the health insurance exchange (HIE) are expected to vary nationally, but they aren't likely to skyrocket - at least according to one research group.

Premium rates for health plan policies in the health insurance exchange (HIE) are expected to vary nationally, but they aren’t likely to skyrocket—at least according to one research group.

Some US state officials have voiced concern as to whether young, healthy consumers will experience “rate shock” when the HIEs go live October 1. However, the Rand Corporation's analysis showed no widespread trend towards drastically higher prices in the individual market.

"The rate-shock concerns were overblown, it's likely the effect will be small." said Christine Eibner, senior economist and Rand study author. “Some people buy more generous coverage because of the law and that will lead to increased costs. In my mind, that’s not the same as rate shock because the person will be getting a better plan.”

The Rand analysis also found that more that 60% of people who shop for insurance in the exchange will be applicable for a subsidy to offset their out-of-pocket costs.

But what about those with private insurance? Since 2003, premiums for the average family under a private health plan have risen 80%. Humana spokesperson Kate Marx said some employers will see even higher premiums as certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions move forward. In some instances, companies are faced with difficult decisions. UPS, for example, recently chose to exclude spousal coverage to its employees. They cited Obamacare as the reason for the decision.

"I think companies are going to look at what their options are, and ask: 'What can I do to keep these costs under control?'" said Bryan Sunderland, senior vice president for public affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

While the RAND findings suggest no drastic premium increases for some under the ACA, others may end up feeling the strain.

Around the Web

Premium Increases Under Obamacare May Be Overstated [Bloomberg]

Study: Obamacare Rate Concerns 'Overblown' [USA Today]

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