Health care premiums for Obamacare policies in Arkansas will decrease by two percent on average in 2015, undermining conservative predictions of double or triple digit increases. The news come just a week after Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) released an ad touting his vote in favor of the law and Republicans in competitive Congressional races are spending less on political ads attacking it.
Premiums for the state’s private option Medicaid expansion will “essentially remain flat in comparison to 2014,” a release from the governor’s office reads. “This is an aggregate projection, meaning that some individual consumers will see a small increase in premiums, and others will see their costs drop more than two percent.” Before health reform was signed into law in 2010, premiums increased by an average of 10 percent a year.
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who is seeking to unseat Pryor, has made the health care law the centerpiece of his campaign, predicting that some people would “face triple digit increases” in 2015.
Since last year, however, 43,446 Arkansans signed up for coverage through the federal health exchange and close to 200,000 were enrolled in the state’s Medicaid “private option.” As a result, the uninsurance rate has fallen by half, from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in mid-2014,” Gallup poll reported. Preliminary survey results also showed that emergency room visits to hospitals in Arkansas dropped by 2 percent, while the number of uninsured patients decrease by 24 percent.
While Obamacare premium will vary across the nation in 2015 — one analysis of available data from PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts an average increase of 8.2 percent in 29 states and Washington D.C. — Arkansas isn’t the only state projecting decreases. Data out of Connecticut also shows that health care premiums for some policies will fall in the coming year. Final rate information likely won’t be available until the beginning of the second open enrollment period on November 15.