What we're reading, January 22, 2016: the average premium under the Affordable Care Act rose to $408 before tax credits; seniors will face higher Medicare Advantage premiums with a merge between Aetna and Humana; and Hawaii could be the first state to offer long-term care benefits.
Before taking into account tax credits that lower premiums, the average premium under the Affordable Care Act is $408 per month for 2016, which is a 9% increase. However, after tax credits, the average premium enrollees pay is $118, according to The Hill. As the premium level rose, so did the financial assistance from the government, increasing from an average of $268 for 2015 plans to $294 for 2016 plans.
Meanwhile, seniors will face higher Medicare Advantage premiums if Aetna’s proposal to buy Humana is approved by regulators. Reuters reported that Aetna premiums were at least $155 less annually and up to $305 lower annually in counties where it competed with Humana. Aetna has said that beneficiaries who are facing a premium increase in Medicare Advantage could always switch to traditional Medicare.
In Hawaii, seniors could become the first in the country to have access to long-term care benefits. Lawmakers are introducing a bill that would provide seniors with a benefit of $70 per day for 1 year, which could be used to pay family caregivers, hire in-home aids, and help offset the cost of safety equipment, according to The Washington Post. Hawaii would cover the cost of the benefit through a 0.5% increase in the state’s general excise tax.