Obamacare Insurers Seek Big Rate Hikes

Photo (cc) by kc7fys

Millions of Americans who buy their own health insurance may see monthly premiums rise 20 to 40 percent in 2016, if many insurers get their way.

Insurance companies say they need a boost because many of their new customers who bought health plans under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, turned out to be sicker than expected.

Federal officials say they are determined to see that rate-increase requests filed with state regulators are scaled back, The New York Times reported.

Oregon is the first state to announce final decisions on 2016 health insurance premiums for 220,000 people not covered by employer plans or government programs. OregonLive.com reported that many rates are going up, but not as high as all insurance companies requested. The least expensive silver plan premium for a 40-year-old will be $271 per month in 2016, up $49 per month from 2015’s lowest rate.

The silver plans are the basis for federal premium subsidies and are the plans that most marketplace enrollees (68 percent) have chosen, says Kaiser Family Foundation, which analyzed proposed rate changes in 11 cities for 2016. Kaiser says it expects most plans’ prices will change modestly, but the increases will be larger than in 2015. Shopping may allow people to find cheaper plans if they are willing to switch insurers, which may also mean they might have to switch doctors.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states, the Times says — seek rate increases averaging 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota.

Insurers say they need the increases to cover costs for previously uninsured customers who needed care, the high cost of specialty drugs, and the Obama administration’s 2013 decision to allow some people to keep insurance that did not meet new federal standards, the Times said.

Under the ACA’s rate review provision, premium increases of more than 10 percent are made public to improve insurer accountability and transparency. You can look up your insurer on the HealthCare.gov Rate Review pages to see if proposed rate increases are “based on reasonable cost assumptions and solid evidence.”

Federal subsidies could soften the impact of rate increases, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of Health and Human Services, told the Times. About 85 percent of the 10.2 million people who obtained health coverage through federal and state exchanges in 2015 receive subsidies to help pay premiums.

What’s your experience and impression, so far, of Obamacare? Share them on our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save, become more productive and have fun.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Things I Always Buy at Costco
8 Things I Always Buy at Costco

From bacon to birthday cakes, here are my favorite deals at the popular warehouse store.

21 Thrift Store Gems You Can Cash In On
21 Thrift Store Gems You Can Cash In On

Here’s what to look for at that overstuffed thrift store — and how you can make money from it.

14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer
14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer

We’ve rounded up innovative Amazon purchases to lengthen the life of your favorite foods and beverages.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Maybe you’re not ready to leave the workplace entirely.

The 5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
The 5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination
This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Avoid doing this before you get vaccinated.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day
29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.