There were warnings that ObamaCare premiums would skyrocket this year…….so did they? A new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report says premiums did go up, but not as much as some had feared.
The report fights back against predictions, often seized on by Republicans, that ObamaCare premiums would spike by double-digit percentages. HHS notes that such predictions often do not take into account that consumers can shop around and change plans so as to find the best deal and that tax credits help lower the burden further by shifting more of the premium cost onto the government.
In other words, while some insurers did spike premiums by double-digits last year, consumers can often switch into a different plan or get help from a tax credit so that they don’t necessarily have to pay that increase.
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “ACA health plan premiums increased by an average of 8 percent, or from $356 per month to $386 per month from 2015 to 2016, an HHS report stated. After factoring in the premium tax credits that help 85 percent of consumers with ACA plans afford their insurance, the premium increases shrank to 4 percent, or from $102 per month to $106.
The Huffington Post suggested a possible explanation as to why the HHS data showed a smaller increase than many had expected.
More than 40 percent of returning customers shopped around, dropped the plans they had in 2015, and decided to pick new ones for 2016. While they could have done so for a variety of reasons, it’s likely that most switched in order to save money. In other words, they would have paid more, maybe a lot more, had they stuck with their 2015 coverage.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Do you think the initial talk of big bumps in cost were overstated, or were there other reasons for the more modest increases? You may even think the increases are still too much. What we hope to do is to continue to encourage you to engage in these timely and important health related discussions. We may not always agree, but these thoughtful conversations are needed if we truly hope to one day reach our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!