September 16, 2016 | Ever since the ACA (Affordable Care Act) has been in place, health insurance premiums have risen and millions of Americans insurance have grown at slower rates. However, according to hhs.gov, a new HHS analysis finds that HealthCare.gov consumers would continue to have affordable coverage options, even if all Marketplace final health insurance premium rates were to increase by double digits next year. In a hypothetical scenario where all rates increase by 25 percent, the vast majority of consumers (73%) would be able to purchase coverage for less than $75 per month.
WHEN WILL PREMIUMS BE MADE PUBLIC?
All of the marketplace premiums will be made public in October.
Two important features of the Marketplace protect consumers from the impact of rate increases.
- Tax credits go up along with premiums. Tax credits are designed to protect consumers from rate increases and keep coverage affordable, increasing by whatever amount the cost of the second-lowest-cost silver, or benchmark plan increases. So if all premiums in a market go up by similar amounts, the large majority of consumers in that market will not have to pay more, since tax credits will increase in parallel.
- Consumers can shop around to find the best plan. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, it was almost impossible to shop around for health insurance. Not only were many Americans barred from coverage due to pre-existing conditions, but those who did have insurance through the individual market were often trapped in a plan, since people with even small health problems could be denied coverage or charged an exorbitant price if they tried to switch plans.
CURRENT MARKETPLACE RATES
What’s great about the current marketplace is that they’re well below what the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) projected them to be. According to hhs.gov, marketplace rates are 12 – 20% lower than what they were predicted to be for 2016. For 2017, Marketplace rate increases are subject to a number of predictable upward pressures that will dissipate next year. The end of the ACA’s temporary reinsurance program in 2016 puts upward pressure on 2017 rate increases that won’t exist for 2018 and beyond.
WHAT’S THE FUTURE?
CBO’s projections show that the law is working to cover the uninsured, while costing less than expected. Recent estimates find that the law’s coverage provisions will cost 28 percent less in 2019 than in CBO’s original projections.
THE ACA BENEFITS
What most people tend to think is that the Affordable Care Act has done a lot of damage for our health care in america. However, according to the facts, the ACA has actually brought some light to our health care system.
- Since 2010, per-enrollee costs in both public and private health insurance have grown more slowly than in previous decades – contributing to lower-than-expected costs in the Marketplace.
- Nearly 4 out of 5 Marketplace consumers are very or somewhat satisfied with their health insurance. Importantly, they are just as satisfied with their coverage as people with employer plans.
The ACA is going to continue to keep growing and expanding in the years to come. If you or someone you know is struggling to find health care and health insurance, please let us know! Northwest Health is devoted to helping our community become healthier. We have a full-time certified applications counselor on staff to meet with individuals who are interested in coverage through the marketplace and the ACA. Please call 816-901-1433 to schedule an appointment! It’s FREE.
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