The Obama administration says the Affordable Care Act will provide cheaper health insurance for millions of Americans.But some people, particularly young men who aren’t insured through their employers, could see their premiums go up once coverage in the state-based insurance exchanges begins in January.
Many groups have come out with reports forecasting what will happen to premiums, on average, next year. But just what folks will pay for insurance on the individual market depends on a variety of factors. They include the enrollee’s income, age, gender, current coverage level and state of residence.
“The average isn’t very relevant to any particular person,” said Jim O’Connor, principal at consulting firm Milliman, who authored a report on how “Obamacare” will affect premiums.The exact cost of plans likely won’t be known until the summer, at the earliest — and possibly not until the exchanges open for enrollment in October. Insurers have already submitted their proposals to state officials, and regulators are now reviewing them. But it is up to each state to decide when to release the plan specifics.Few insurers have disclosed their individual market plan prices for next year, but several have warned that they’re likely to rise significantly.
In Maryland, for instance, Blue Cross has said its premiums could go up 25%.Participants will have the opportunity to pick from a variety of plans offered by several different insurers. They range from “bronze” plans with low premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs to platinum plans that carry higher premiums but cover more expenses.One key provision is that those with pre-existing conditions cannot be excluded or charged more for coverage. Until now, many cancer survivors, heart attack sufferers and those with other ailments have found it tough to get insurance. The new rule is great for those who have been sick, since they can now obtain more affordable plans, but it is likely to make things more expensive for the healthy people who get insurance by raising the overall cost of coverage.