ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

Obamacare’s third open enrollment season kicked off yesterday, beginning the next chapter in its turbulent history. Today’s post discusses what we know about Obamacare. Tomorrow’s will discuss what we don’t yet know.

Obamacare premium costs will soar 20.3 percent on average in 2016 instead of the 7.5 percent increase claimed by federal officials, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The discrepancy is because the government excluded price data for three of the four Obamacare health insurance plans when the officials issued their recent forecast claiming enrollees would face only a 7.5 percent average rate increase in 2016.

As eligible Americans today begin to examine health insurance plans on the government’s exchange under the Affordable Care Act’s annual open enrollment period, they will find 2016 premiums that have jumped on average by double-digit percentages compared to this year and 2014.

Sign-up season started Sunday for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, now in year 3. Premiums are going up an average of 7.5 percent, but they could be much higher depending on where you live. Self-employed accountant Fred Imel of Oklahoma buys insurance for his family through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Obamacare’s third year of open enrollment began on Sunday. People hoping to sign up saw a website with fresh photos and high-tech features. They found the actual insurance of the president’s signature law has gotten even worse. Unless something dramatic happens, this may be the year of the health care law’s collapse. Prices keep rising and service keeps fading. It should not surprise the administration that people are not signing up.

New analysis from Avalere Health examines the 2016 Federal Exchange Premium File. According to HHS, more than 8 in 10 (86 percent) of current enrollees can find a lower premium plan in the same metal level by returning to the exchange and shopping for 2016. As a result, tables and figures below examine the lowest cost options in two metal levels.

Last week I reported on a fascinating new Wharton School study of non-poor uninsured people [1]. Another revealing finding from that same study highlights a dilemma facing any would-be health reformer: even before Obamacare, less than one quarter of health costs for uninsured persons were paid for out of pocket, regardless of family income . Think about that. Third parties already covered more than three quarters of health spending for the average uninsured family–even those with incomes above 400% of poverty. In the jargon of Obamacare, uninsured people essentially already had coverage equivalent to an actuarial value (AV) of 75%! In contrast, a Bronze plan under Obamacare has an AV of 60%, while Silver plans have an AV of only 70%.

During the health reform debate in 2009 and 2010 that preceded the adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one of the prominent arguments used by advocates for national control of the health insurance market was that the existence of private market in health insurance led to “waste” in the form of advertising and marketing – costs of private health insurance that, it was claimed, raised premiums without benefiting consumers.

Mississippi will be ground zero for ObamaCare’s individual mandate to buy coverage or pay a tax penalty. The state already is near the bottom when it comes to the percentage of the subsidy-eligible individuals who are enrolled via HealthCare.gov — just 38%. Now Mississippi’s subsidized premiums are about to jump far more than any of the 36 other states using HealthCare.gov.

It isn’t just Obamacare premiums that are set to spike next year. The rates on commercial health plans that are sold off the Obamacare exchanges will also rise, by double digits in most states. Inflation in the health plan sector continues to grow. The latest data comes from a regular survey of commercial insurance brokers, conducted by the investment bank Morgan Stanley. The survey tracks how much the annual increases built into the price of insurance are rising or falling.