As open enrollment begins on Nov. 1 for Obamacare exchanges, consumers in some states are expecting significant rate hikes, while others get ready to change insurers and maybe even doctors. Tax subsidies, however, are expected to greatly minimize the impact of the price increase.
An average 22 percent rise in benchmark plan prices is expected, but the full effect of this increase depends greatly on where the consumer lives, CNN reports. Depending on the state exchange, consumers could experience either a small price increase or a major one.
"The way people are experiencing Obamacare varies tremendously across the country," Larry Levitt, a senior vice president of the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, told USA Today. "In some states, the market is stable and in other places, it’s a bit of a mess."
In Oklahoma, for example, premiums will jump by as much as 69 percent to $424 for an average 27-year-old. Massachusetts and New Hampshire will see premiums as low as $219, while Alaska will see them rise to as much as $760.
However, with 85 percent of enrollees eligible for a tax credit based on personal income and the second-lowest cost silver plan, the majority of Obamacare participants won’t feel the effect of the price hike.
Switching to the lower-priced silver or bronze plans while accepting the subsidy will enable more than 75 percent of currently enrolled participants to pay only $100 or less a month on the federal Affordable Care Act exchange.
A problem has been the shrinking number of providers available on the market, as many have abandoned the Obamacare marketplaces altogether. Participants in the program will have access to three marketplace insurers, on average. Consumers in at least five states, including Oklahoma and Alabama, will have access to only one.
It’s extremely important to bring more people into the Affordable Care Act exchanges in order to make them “attractive for more insurers,” Ashish Jha, a professor of health policy and medicine at Harvard, told USA Today. “We have to fix it one way or another.”
Despite the problems, Obamacare has provided coverage to about 20 million more people early in 2016 compared to 2010, before the law was implemented.