After double-digit increases for the past couple of years, premiums for health insurance policies purchased on the Obamacare exchanges for 2019 are expected to moderate — or even drop — in 41 states, while six states will see 10-percent-plus increases, according to a study done by Avalere Health and the Associated Press.
Nationwide, the average increase will be just 3.3 percent. In the 41 states mentioned earlier, premiums for Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) policies will either drop or stay below the 10-percent double-digit threshold. In six other states, including Washington D.C., increases will breach the 10-percent barrier, according to the study.
In addition, some insurers that dropped out of the exchanges will be returning.
Even with the price moderation, warns Chris Sloan, an Avalere director, “This is still a market that’s unaffordable for many people who aren’t eligible for subsidies.” Nearly 90 percent of consumers who purchase policies on the exchanges qualify for subsidies, reducing their payments sometimes below $100 a month. Those who don’t qualify for subsides can end up paying steep monthly premiums.
The most popular policies — called Bronze in the metallic universe of Obamacare nomenclature — also carry $7,350 out-of-pocket expenses for individuals and $14,700 for families, subsidy or no subsidy.
The study’s release coincided with the start of a legal confrontation in a federal court in Texas that seeks to have the ACA declared unconstitutional. The study also comes just two months before ACA open enrollment, which begins Nov. 1, and the national elections, which take place a few days later on Nov. 6.