ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

The mere existence of ACA insurance policies can’t be the only metric for measuring the success of a major federal program. Another sensible measure of ACA success is the affordability of the policies being sold. For a broad spectrum of middle-aged persons in the middle class, premiums for even the cheapest bronze policy today are, in a majority of rating areas examined, so expensive that people are formally exempt from the individual mandate.

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Next time you run into someone who minimizes the problems with Obamacare, I want you to introduce them to Fay. She’s a reasonably healthy 60 year old grandmother living in Fayette County, Illinois and earns about 450% of the federal poverty level ($53,460) working for a small employer that does not provide her with health insurance. Right now, if she wants the second lowest silver plan in her area, she needs to pay 28% of her pre-tax income in order to get it — $1,247 per month. Fay just doesn’t have that kind of money and thus lives in fear of medical bankruptcy should something go wrong.

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A majority of cities—71 percent—will see Obamacare premiums rise by double-digits next year as more health insurers drop out of the exchanges, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The foundation analyzed data in the 20 states and in Washington, D.C. that had submitted rate filings to examine how much premiums were rising and how many insurers were participating on the exchanges.

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The second-lowest silver plan is one of the most popular plan choices on the marketplace and is also the benchmark that is used to determine the amount of financial assistance individuals and families receive. Based on preliminary 2018 rate filings, the second-lowest silver premium for a 40-year-old non-smoker will range from $244 in Detroit, MI to $631 in Wilmington, DE, before accounting for the tax credit that most enrollees in this market receive.

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Unlike the double-digit percentage rate hikes individuals purchasing coverage under the Affordable Care Act will see next year, those with coverage at large employers will face single-digit increases, a new national survey of large employers shows.

The National Business Group on Health said Tuesday the percentage increase large companies will see next year is similar to 5% cost increases employers have experienced for five years.

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Major health insurers in some states are seeking increases as high as 30% or more for premiums on 2018 Affordable Care Act plans, according to new federal data that provide the broadest view so far of the turmoil across exchanges as companies try to anticipate Trump administration policies.

Big insurers in Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina, Iowa and Wyoming are seeking to raise premiums by averages close to 30% or more, according to preliminary rate requests published Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Major marketplace players in New Mexico, Tennessee, North Dakota and Hawaii indicated they were looking for average increases of 20% or more.

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A growing number of major insurers are seeking premium increases averaging 20% or more for next year on plans sold under the Affordable Care Act, according to rate proposals in more than 10 states that provide the broadest picture so far of the strains on the marketplaces.

As Republicans try to pass a health-care bill to overhaul the ACA, the attention has focused on insurers’ withdrawals from a few states that risk leaving some consumers with no exchange plans next year. But the rate requests by major insurers show stress on the marketplaces stretches beyond those trouble spots.

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Insurers must submit applications by next Wednesday to sell plans through HealthCare.gov, and these will give us some of the first indicators of how high Obama Care costs will skyrocket in 2018. ObamaCare supporters can’t wait to blame the coming premium increases on the “uncertainty” caused by President Trump. But insurers faced the same uncertainty last year under President Obama.

Consider a recent press release from California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. He announced that “in light of the market instability created by President Trump’s continued undermining of the Affordable Care Act,” he would authorize insurers to file two sets of proposed rates for 2018—“Trump rates” and “ACA rates.” Among other sources of uncertainty, Mr. Jones’s office cited the possibility that the Trump administration will end cost-sharing reduction payments.

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Despite its name and despite some of the more grandiose claims by its supporters, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is failing to make healthcare costs more affordable.  Indeed, it’s possible that the ACA has achieved less than nothing with respect to health cost affordability — meaning less even than a hypothetical scenario in which it had never been enacted.

It’s well documented that national healthcare cost growth has slowed in recent years relative to longer historical patterns.

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A new HHS report reveals that premiums for individual market coverage have increased significantly since Obamacare’s provisions have taken effect. Comparing the average premiums between 2013, before ObamaCare went into effect, and 2017 shows average exchange premiums were 105% higher in the 39 states using Healthcare.gov than average individual market premiums in 2013. Average monthly premiums increased from $224 to $476 over the period, and 62% of those states saw the average premiums double.

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