Report: Obamacare Premiums Up 37% As Health Insurer Participation Declines

Fewer enrollees will have access to a plan costing less than $200 a month

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October 30, 2017

The average monthly premium for Obamacare's second-lowest cost silver plan, otherwise known as the benchmark plan, is up 37 percent from 2017, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. From 2016 to 2017, the premium for this type of plan increased by 24 percent.

According to the report, in 2014, when Obamacare was first implemented, the premium for the benchmark plan totaled $218 for a 27-year-old. In 2018, that same premium is expected to rise to $411.

Premiums are also increasing by 17 percent for Obamacare's lowest-cost plan. The report finds that fewer and fewer enrollees will have access to a plan that costs less than $200 a month.

"The percentage of current enrollees with access to a plan for $200 or less decreased from 16 percent for plan year 2017 to 6 percent to plan year 2018," the report states. "If enrollees were to stay within their current metal level, only 2 percent will have access to coverage with premiums of $200 or less for plan year 2018."

Taxpayers are also expected to see higher costs as premium subsidies have grown along with premium increases. In plan year 2014 when Obamacare coverage began, the average advance premium tax credit totaled $259. This year, that tax credit increased to $382, and it is projected to grow by 45 percent to $555 in the 2018 plan year.

While enrollees and taxpayers are seeing higher costs, health insurer participation and plan choices are on the decline. The report finds there will only be 132 health insurers participating next year, a decline of 21 percent from the 167 insurers participating in 2017.

There are eight states—Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming—that will only have one health insurer participating in the entire state. In 2016, only 2 percent of Obamacare enrollees had one choice on the exchange. Next year, that number is expected to increase to 29 percent.

"This data demonstrates just how rapidly Obamacare’s exchanges are deteriorating with skyrocketing premiums year after year, more than half of Americans with no more than two insurers to choose from, and the taxpayer burden exploding," said Caitlin Oakley, press secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

"There is an urgent and serious need to repeal this failed law and replace it with patient-centered solutions," she said.