Health

Some Real News About Obamacare: Premium Increases Are Much Lower Than Expected

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For the second year in a row, Obamacare premiums are lower than anticipated and millions of Americans can expect to find affordable health insurance options during the second open enrollment period.

A Center for American Progress analysis of 2015 premium rates for the individual market in states with Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces shows that premiums will increase by an average of only 3.9 percent from 2014 to 2015. This average is for individual coverage for a 27 or 40 year old across all plans in each metal level in each state and weighted by each state’s enrollment by metal level in 2014.

Silver plans, the most popular type of plan in 2014, will increase even less –- by only 3.45 percent on average. While there is wide variation around the average growth in different geographic areas, the low national average is a testament to the popularity and affordability of the health insurance plans on the exchanges, where more than 7 million Americans purchased health insurance in 2014.

Increased competition in the exchanges, with about 25 percent more issuers offering plans on the exchanges in 2015 than 2014, helped to keep premiums low. Some of the nation’s biggest insurers will now be participating in the exchanges for the first time.

To put this premium increase into perspective, an average increase of 3.9 percent is much less than historical premium growth. From 2008 to 2010, the national average rate of premium increase was 10.9 percent, which is 179 percent greater than the increase between 2014 and 2015.

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Meghan O’Toole is the Policy Analyst for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress.