How Will ObamaCare Affect Health Insurance Rates in Your State?

In less than a month, the ObamaCare subsidized state exchanges are slated to open and begin enrolling Americans who don’t obtain health insurance through their employers. For those who choose not to enroll – or still are not aware that they are now required to purchase health insurance, the infamous “tax,” courtesy of the IRS, awaits.

For those who decide to enroll in the exchanges, however, the question is what will be the impact of ObamaCare on what they will have to pay for an individual-market health plan?

Health care policy expert Avik Roy and his colleagues at the Manhattan Institute have put together a new tool: an interactive, state-by-state map to help Americans find out how ObamaCare will affect insurance rates where they live.

One problem according to Roy, is that as of September 4th, the federal government has released the insurance company filings for only 13 states and Washington D.C. In short, the interactive map will need to be updated as its designers wait for more information on health insurance premiums from almost three-fourths of the states.

Most of the data for the interactive map is from mostly Democrat-led states that fully embraced ObamaCare and set up their own online exchanges.

According to the map, New Mexico, Vermont, South Dakota, and Connecticut will see the steepest rate hikes: on average, 130%, 97%, 83%, and 59%, respectively.

However, in some states that already have highly-regulated individual insurance markets, such as Maine and New York, the average rates will actually decrease. Roy says the reason for this is that because of pre-ObamaCare heavy insurance regulations, these states have already driven healthy people out of the individual insurance market. Since ObamaCare mandates the purchase of health insurance and offers subsidies to low-income populations, individual health insurance premiums will go down. In most other states, however, rates will increase, and some fairly dramatically.

Roy observes ObamaCare’s supporters have argued that health insurance premium increases were insignificant because poor people would now be protected by taxpayer-funded subsidies. However, subsidies are only good news for those receiving them; most others will be facing higher premiums and higher taxes to pay for those subsidies.

Noting that younger men and older women will be the hardest hit when it comes to rate hikes with ObamaCare, Roy says:

…27-year-old men fare the worst, with an average gross premium increase of 43 percent. It’s important to note that these rates are adjusted to take into account those with pre-existing conditions; healthy individuals should expect to see even steeper rate hikes…

It’s not widely understood, however, that older Americans will also see rate increases. Of the states we examined, 64-year-old men will see 20 percent increases on average, 64-year-old women will see 27 percent increases on average, which is actually higher than what 40-year-old women (10 percent) and 27-year-old women (22 percent) will see.

Roy and his colleagues will be updating the interactive map and adding more features to it. He states that he expects to have every state included by the opening of the exchanges on October 1st.

“If you’re among the many who will see rates go up, you will have a decision to make,” Roy warns. “Should you sign up for health insurance that is more expensive than your coverage today? Or should you drop out of the market and pay the fine? That, my friends, is the 2-trillion-dollar question.”


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