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 2016 ObamaCare exchange shopping season set to
start on Nov. 1. AP
Take Indiana, where average premiums are set to rise just under 1% on average, tied for the lowest in the nation, according to ACASignups.net. The cheapest silver plan in Indianapolis will actually fall by 6%, but that doesn't necessarily mean customers will get a better deal.
This year's cheapest silver plan, from CareSource, has a $3,500 deductible. But in 2016 the cheapest plan, from Ambetter, will have a $6,500 deductible — an 86% jump.
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Nationally, individual market premiums will rise 12.5% on average, according to an analysis by Charles Gaba of ACASignups.net. Yet customers in many states will be able to avoid big premium hikes by switching plans. That's because some of the biggest increases are coming from plans that attracted a lot of customers by setting rates too low to cover the medical costs.
Seattle's Big Needle
The Kaiser Family Foundation looked at 2016 premiums in major cities of 13 states plus D.C. and found that the cost of the second-cheapest silver plan would rise just 4.4%. A big reason is because Seattle's is set to drop by 10.8%.
But here's what the Kaiser researchers didn't say: The deductible for Seattle's second-cheapest plan will soar 175%, from $2,000 this year to $5,500 in 2016. Meanwhile, the out-of-pocket maximum will jump 30%, from $5,000 to $6,500. As for Seattle's cheapest silver plan — also from Ambetter — it will have a $6,500 deductible.
Ambetter plans, operated by Centene (NYSE:CNC) in a dozen states, aren't the only silver plans with deductibles of $6,000 or more. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois and Texas, both part of Health Care Service Corp., offer silver plans with $6,000 deductibles in 2015, though those plans offer more extensive benefits before the deductible than will be available under the Ambetter plans in 2016.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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