Study: Obamacare Premiums to Increase 27%

Actual increases higher than gov't projections

doctor
AP

A new study obtained by the Washington Free Beacon shows premium increases under Obamacare will actually be higher than the federal government's projections.

Obamacare premiums will increase by 27 percent next year, according to the center-right policy institute the American Action Forum. The Department of Health and Human Services announced last month that premiums would increase an average of 22 percent in 2017, with the health care law's Silver plans rising to $296 per month. Premiums will increase as much as 145 percent in some states.

The American Action Forum found that the average increase is likely to be higher than predicted because the agency did not factor in that nearly half of Obamacare plans no longer exist, forcing enrollees to switch to costlier plans.

"In this study the American Action Forum finds that the cost of 2016 benchmark Silver plans will increase by an average of 27 percent in 2017 for a 27-year-old non-smoker," writes Jonathan Keisling in the new report. "The lowest cost Bronze plan will increase by 22 percent in 2017."

The group said the government's increase of 22 percent "can be misleading" because most of the 2017 Obamacare plans will be new.

"Actual premium growth is likely worse than that as the 2016 benchmarks that still exist in 2017 will see a 27 percent increase," the American Action Forum said. "Many of the 2016 benchmark plans no longer exist."

"In the 498 rating areas considered, only 276 (55 percent) benchmark plans from 2016 are still offered in 2017," the group said. "Enrollees in those plans will be forced to find a new plan that likely has a different benefit structure and provider network. Also, many 2016 benchmarks that survived are no longer the benchmark in their rating areas. Many consumers receiving cost sharing tax credits will also need to shop for a new plan in these cases."

The report cited the lack of competition under Obamacare, where one-third of the country will only have one insurer to choose from in the exchanges, for rising costs.

"In 2017, only 36 out of 498 rating areas will see an increase in competition while 366 rating areas lost at least one insurer," the American Action Forum said. "Of the rating areas that lost insurers, 78 rating areas lost two or more and many regions in Illinois, Ohio, Texas, and Arizona, among others, saw five or more insurers exit their exchanges."

"This mass exodus of insurers in many rating areas paints the picture of a marketplace that is increasingly hostile to private insurance," the group said.

President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal and replace the healthcare law, making it a top priority for the incoming administration next year.