ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

The architects of the Affordable Care Act thought they had a blunt instrument to force people—even young and healthy ones—to buy insurance through the law’s online marketplaces: a tax penalty for those who remain uninsured. The full weight of the penalty will not be felt until April, when those who have avoided buying insurance will face penalties of around $700 a person or more. But for the young and healthy who are badly needed to make the exchanges work, it is sometimes cheaper to pay the Internal Revenue Service than an insurance company charging large premiums, with huge deductibles. The IRS says that 8.1 million returns included penalty payments for people who went without insurance in 2014, the first year in which most people were required to have coverage.

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Skyrocketing premium increases on the Obamacare exchanges for 2017 were announced Monday afternoon by the Department of Health and Human Services, averaging nearly 25% across 38 federal exchange states. More than 70% of consumers in states using the federal exchange will be able to find a premium that is less than $75 a month once financial assistance is factored in, according to the HHS report. That’s because 85% of enrollees in the Obamacare exchanges receive subsidies to offset the cost of the premium increases. But someone has to make up the difference, and it is, of course, middle-income taxpayers. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and current president of the American Action Forum, estimates that taxpayers will fork over $32 billion in ACA subsidies this year and up to $50 billion next year.

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Obamacare enrollees will face varying rate hikes depending on which state they live in. Insurers in some states had underpriced their products in the first few years of the marketplaces set up under President Obama’s health care law and now are trying to make up for their losses with big cost increases. The highest AVERAGE premium increases are in Arizona, 116%; Oklahoma, 69%; Tennessee, 63%; and Minnesota, 59%. Millions of people in other states will find premiums for their current plans spiking at least as high.

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The 3.5 million uninsured people that the administration hopes will sign up for Obamacare this year generally worry about cost and may lack knowledge about the marketplace, according to analysts and advocates.

The Affordable Care Act has put the nation’s uninsured rate to a historic low, but there are still roughly 24 million uninsured people in the United States. Of that group, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 10.7 million will be eligible for financial assistance this year. Officials expect about one-third of that group to sign up for an Obamacare plan during the three-month open enrollment period beginning Nov. 1.

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President Obama took a health-care victory lap last week in Miami, celebrating “all the progress that we’ve made in controlling costs” and portraying the law’s critics as “false and politically motivated.” Does that apply to the actuaries at the Health and Human Services Department too? On Monday they reported that ObamaCare premiums will soar 25% on average next year, and this is “progress” all right, in the wrong direction.

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Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama’s health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday. That’s sure to stoke another “Obamacare” controversy days before a presidential election.

Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.

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Insurer defections and rising premiums in the individual insurance market are spurring Democrats and Republicans alike to talk about changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

For now, the conversations are largely aimed at their party’s base. President Barack Obama led his party’s cry on Thursday with suggestions that would further entrench the law, including the addition of a government-run health plan in parts of the country with limited competition. GOP lawmakers have continued to call for gutting the law, including proposals to waive its penalties for people who forgo coverage in areas with limited insurance options.

In each of these proposals, both sides have been largely talking past one another. Come January, they will have to talk to each other instead.

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ACA proponents perpetually try to make announcements of rising premiums more palatable, but their latest excuse merely highlights the central planners’ failure to deliver on President Barack Obama’s promises. A popular diversionary tactic is to point out federal subsidies under the ACA will significantly offset the rate hikes. Relief from subsidies does not negate the fact that health care costs are increasing–even for individuals receiving subsidies. This is a low bar for a law intended to reform the country’s health care marketplace and protect the uninsured and individually insured.

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Major insurers participating in Obamacare have won approval for substantial premium hikes next year in a dozen or more states. The increases range as high as 30 percent to 50 percent, according to new data.

Shaken by the decisions of Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other giants to pull out of many states after incurring hundreds of millions in losses, state insurance regulators appear more than willing to go along with these rate increases to prop up insurers remaining in the program.

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After months of health insurer exits from the Affordable Care Act marketplace in Arizona, state regulators have approved plans from two companies that will be the only marketplace insurance providers next year.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona will sell marketplace plans in every county except Maricopa County in 2017. The Phoenix-based insurer’s average rates will increase 51 percent, Arizona Department of Insurance filings show.

Maricopa County residents only option will be Centene Corp., which said it will sell its “Ambetter” plans. State regulators approved a 74.5 percent increase for Centene/Ambetter plans.

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