by Lauren Mandel
Criticism surrounding Obamacare is nothing new. Since it was signed into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has faced its fair share of backlash.
The newest concern is that next year’s premium rates will increase so much that no American will be able to afford health insurance. Not only is this hyperbole, but it also may not be true. While health insurance premiums may increase overall in 2017, Americans shouldn’t panic. In fact, most wouldn’t be affected at all by these supposed increases.
A recent piece from Vox outlined what Obamacare premium changes might look like for the upcoming year. Insurers will request premium increases, because many initially set rates too low to make a decent profit. It’s important to remember that health insurance increases are nothing new; they happened long before the Affordable Care Act came into play, at often higher increases than we’ve seen the past few years.
And if premiums do increase, there will also be adjustments to how tax credits are calculated. Tax credits help most Marketplace enrollees – 85 percent last year – afford their coverage. These tax credit adjustments will help these individuals continue to be able to afford their coverage in 2017 and beyond.
As we’ve noted in the past, premiums have actually decreased in certain areas of the country, even when they were predicted to increase. Premium prices also depend on where you live, from which state to which city to which county.
For example, if you lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma last year, you likely saw an average premium decrease of 35.2 percent. People in Portland, Oregon saw an average decrease of 22.9 percent. So to generalize and say that everyone in the United States will see more expensive premiums next year just might not be true.
Like much of the news surrounding the Affordable Care Act and the future of the law itself, premium increases are hard to predict. While we wait for official confirmation concerning premium changes, let’s not forget the good the law has already done for millions of Americans.
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