Obamacare: Florida OKs 19.1% average hike in health premiums

medical billsFlorida regulators said Friday they approved an average 19.1 percent premium increase for health plans on and off Affordable Care Act exchanges, doubling last year’s approved 9.5 percent boost.

Groups opposing the health law portrayed such increases as “grim” evidence things are getting worse, while administration officials said most consumers will continue to get affordable coverage after government help in the form of tax credits.

For seven companies offering individual plans  in Florida on the healthcare.gov exchange, approved increases ranged from 15.4 percent for Florida Health Plan Inc. to  36.8 percent for Humana Medical Plan  Inc.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., or Florida Blue, received a 19 percent increase.

In Palm Beach County, an individual making $27,000  a year and choosing a “silver” plan would pay an average of $211 a month in 2017 after tax credits, according to figures provided  by the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.

State officials had no immediate comment on why average approved rates were higher than the average requested rate increase of 17.7 percent, announced in May.

Consumers have to look beyond headline rate increases to figure out what folks actually pay, said Jonathan Gold, Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Consumers in Florida will continue to have affordable Health Insurance Marketplace options next year,” Gold said in a statement. “Among Marketplace consumers, most will be able to select a plan for less than $75 per month. Headline rate changes do not reflect what these consumers actually pay because tax credits reduce the cost of coverage below the sticker price and shopping helps consumers find the best deal.”

Gold went on to say for the 60 percent of people in Florida with employer coverage, premiums have grown at some of the slowest rates on record since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. The law provides benefits such as no exclusions for preexisting conditions, he  noted.

But big  insurers such as Aetna have pulled out of exchanges in states including Florida, though  Aetna still offers off-exchange plans in the state. A summary from Florida  officials Friday noted Harken Health Insurance Co. had withdrawn from the state’s 2017 marketplace.

Opponents of the law, such as the group Americans for Prosperity, warned this week about what President Tim Phillips called a “grim reminder that Obamacare is still hurting Americans. This is a problem at the household budget level that just keeps getting worse and worse with each passing year.”

Florida 2017 health premiums

Company                                                           Requested  Approved

On and Off Exchange
1. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc.     14.5%           19.0%
2.  Celtic Insurance Co,                                            4.3%            20.0%
3. Florida  Health Care Plan Inc.                         12.3%             15.4%
4. Health First Commercial Plans Inc.                 8.4%               11.7%
5. Health Options Inc.                                         13.8%                 18.9%
6.  Humana Medical Plan Inc.                            43.6%                36.8%
7. Molina Healthcare of Florida Inc.                  10.6%                17.4%
8. Harken Health Insurance Co.                                          Withdrawn
Off Exchange Only
9. Aetna Health Inc.                                             20.8%              22.0%
10. Aetna Life Insurance Co.                             28.9%                25.0%
11. AvMed Inc.                                                     27.5%                27.3%
12. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co.          -0.6%                -1.5%
13. Coventry Health Care of Florida Inc.         14.1%                  11.8%
14. Freedom Life Insurance Co. of America     17.4%                17.4%
15. Sunshine State Health Plan                           0.0%                 0.0%
Average                                                                 17.7%                 19.1%

Source: Florida  Office of Insurance Regulation

 

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