Obamacare Enrollment Opens, Premium Rates Increasing

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Obamacare open enrollment has kicked off this week, and starting January 1,2017 monthly insurance premiums are increasing by an average of 25 percent across the nation.

That number varies from state to state, in Texas it’s increasing about 59 percent, and in Oklahoma it’s increasing almost 70 percent.

If you have individual insurance coverage, rather than a group plan, you could be paying quite a bit more for your insurance before long.

“The largest rate increase in the history of health insurance is occurring January 2017,” Kelly Fristoe, with Financial Partners, said.

Fristoe said premiums are rising  largely because the those cost of medical care is going up, and people who signed up for coverage were sicker than the insurance companies expected and this led some health insurers to leave the marketplace.

He also said insurance companies that stayed are now having to charge higher premiums in order to cover their members’ medical bills and they are able to do so because there is less competition.

“We are redistributing other peoples tax dollars, is what this boils down to, to other people, to help them buy a very restrictive health plan,” Fristoe said.

But people who have insurance through their employer or the government will see little to no change.

“The cost of the plan is the same for someone that doesn’t get a tax credit as someone who does get a tax credit. The price of the insurance is the same and it is whether or not you receive some help,” Fristoe said.

Nearly 85 percent receive that help in the form of subsidies, like Rachel Tart, who purchased a plan through the Obamacare marketplace.

“I just got off my parents health insurance and i don’t have the income to supplement health insurance for that high of an expense,” Tart said. “It helps to know that i have a tax credit so I can have a bare minimum and be able to take care of myself health wise.”

The change  will affect those who pass the income threshold, typically the upper middle class, who have to purchase individual coverage, and because of that more people are deciding to go uninsured.

“We’ve seen more cancelations of health plans, after Obamacare went into place in 2014 than we saw in the entire history of health insurance.”

The last day to enroll or change plans for coverage to take effect by January 2017 is December 15, 2016.

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