The math is harsh: The federal penalty for having no health insurance is set to jump to $695, and the Obama administration is being urged to highlight that cold fact in its new pitch for health law sign-ups.

That means the 2016 sign-up season starting Nov. 1 could see penalties become a bigger focus for millions of people who have remained eligible for coverage, but uninsured. They’re said to be squeezed for money, and skeptical about spending what they have on health insurance.

Many people who get their health insurance through companies with more than 100 full-time employees can expect rate increases of about 15 to 20 percent next year.

Rates vary from company to company with some receiving no increase, some seeing rates drop, and some receiving increases of more than 30 percent.

Some employees may also pay more for out-of-pocket expenses in the form of higher deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

Nine out of 10 large companies are working to avoid Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac Tax on health insurance plans if lawmakers fail to reform the law, according to a new study.

The American Health Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, found that nearly every major employer in the country is taking steps to avoid the tax, which targets comprehensive health plans deemed to be luxurious by regulators. The law will hike taxes by $68 billion for American workers.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in 2018, an excise tax on high-value employer provided health plans, the so-called “Cadillac tax,” takes effect. Even before 2018, though, the excise tax is already driving many employers to fundamentally reassess their health care plans. While the tax was intended to reduce health care spending, its impact in the real world is being felt by workers who are seeing the value of their health care plans reduced.

By liberal and media acclamation, ObamaCare is a glorious success, the political opposition is fading and the entitlement state has gained another permanent annex. The reality, for anyone who cares to look, is different and suggests that ObamaCare is far more vulnerable than this conventional wisdom.

Stephanie Douglas signed up for health insurance in January with the best intentions. She had suffered a stroke and needed help paying for her medicines and care. The plan she chose from the federal insurance exchange sounded affordable — $58.17 a month after the subsidy she received under the Affordable Care Act.

But Ms. Douglas, 50, who was working about 30 hours a week as a dollar store cashier and a services coordinator at an apartment complex for older adults, soon realized that her insurance did not fit in her tight monthly budget. She stopped paying her premiums in April and lost her coverage a few months later.

ObamaCare costs will jump next year for exchange customers, one way or the other. Premiums are set to spike by more than 20% in at least 16 states. But, for many, the real sticker shock will be soaring deductibles that mean they’ll get few benefits until they’ve racked up huge bills.
Low-end bronze plans have deductibles hitting $6,850 in 2016. Now insurers are hiking silver-plan deductibles as high as $6,500 as a way to keep a lid on premiums. The downside isn’t just more out-of-pocket costs for patients; it also will have a ripple effect of reducing taxpayer subsidies for cheaper plans.

The state approved a 27.3 percent rate hike for Hawaii Medical Service Association members and 34.4 percent increase for Kaiser members in Obamacare plans for 2016.

HMSA, the state’s largest health insurer, had proposed an average 49.1 percent rate hike — the highest it has ever requested — for 20,935 members in Obamacare plans next year. Kaiser proposed to raise rates 8.7 percent for 13,000 Obamacare plan members in 2016.

The average person with a plan bought in a marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act has to pay 46 percent of total drug spending, according to research published Monday in the journal Health Affairs. That’s significantly more than for people with coverage through their workplace, who have to pay 20 percent of the costs on average.

For months now, regular readers know I’ve spent countless hours crunching the numbers in an attempt to figure out the national, weighted average rate increases for individual health insurance market premiums. I’ve dug into the numbers for just about every state, filling in hard data where I can and making educated guestimates where I couldn’t.