The Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that the cost for a health-insurance plan obtained through the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare, would increase by 25% on average for the 2017 coverage year.
The report also broke down the expected changes in cost by state. To create its estimates, the agency looked specifically at data in each state for a 27-year-old nonsmoker buying the second-lowest-cost silver plan (the middle tier of the gold, silver, and bronze exchange options).
The increases vary heavily by state, with Indiana and Massachusetts seeing an average 3% decline in costs while Arizona tops out with a 116% average increase.
Many of the states seeing serious increases share similar traits: They have not expanded Medicaid, they have a low number of insurers active in the state, and they have larger rural populations, which are more expensive to cover.
The price changes have gained a lot of attention as some major insurers have pulled out of the exchanges because of large losses. Critics of Obamacare say the price increases show the law is in a “death spiral.” Supporters, however, contend that 77% of those on the exchanges can get tax credits that would keep monthly payments under $100 and that the recent increases bring premium payments only up to levels projected before the law passed.
- Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from The Department of Health and Human Services