Another Obamacare rate hike: Individual plans to spike 13.2 percent


By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

EXCHANGE RATES: Premium costs for individual ACA-compliant plans will increase by double-digits next year.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Individual health insurance premiums will increase an average of 13.2 percent in 2015, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

That’s on top of this year’s 37 percent combined increase for individual and small group plans.

The new rate data comes from health insurance providers jockeying to participate in Florida’s federally-run Affordable Care Act insurance “marketplace.” In all, 14 companies filed rate data. Of the 11 returning plans, eight have price increases ranging from 11-23 percent, while three decrease in price from 5-12 percent.

“The average monthly premium for a Silver plan ranges between $938 and $1,452 for a family of four earning $51,000. Even with a federal subsidy, that could mean an out-of-pocket cost of $500 or more per month to have coverage that still requires Florida families to pay about 30% of expenses out-of-pocket for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance,” an OIR statement reads.

Health insurance policies purchased outside Florida’s exchange will also be affected.

“The rate information released (Monday) applies to (Obamacare)-compliant individual plans both on and off the exchange,” an OIR spokesman told in an email.

The state regulatory agency didn’t offer any reasons for the premium increases, but Florida Blue, the state’s largest health insurance provider, blames rising costs on an influx of older adults who are using more services, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Florida Blue announced Friday it would raise all of its Obamacare exchange prices by 17.6 percent.

“The issue to watch will be if younger and healthier individuals remain outside of the ACA (exchange) plans for good,” said Josh Archambault, a senior fellow at the market-oriented Foundation for Government Accountability.

“If so, then we can expect to see significant premium increases each year, and taxpayers will be paying a bigger and bigger share for subsidies being granted to lower-income individuals,” he said.

State lawmakers revoked OIR’s ability to reject rate filings last year. But according to a collaborative agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the state of Florida, HHS will conduct a final review of the rate filings.