Reports continue to flow in of big ObamaCare premium spikes that will hit exchanges around the country in 2017.
Insurers are seeking an average 27% rate hike in Oregon; 21% in Maine; 18% in Virginia; and 18% in Florida.
But if the premiums don’t shock you, the deductibles very well might. Not only are bronze deductibles rising as high as $7,150 in 2017, from a maximum of $6,850 this year, but silver deductibles of $6,000 or more are becoming commonplace. In fact, Centene (CNC), one of the most aggressive exchange competitors when it comes to pricing, is planning to roll out a new silver plan with a $7,050 deductible next year under the Ambetter name — to go along with the $6,500-deductible silver plan it’s already offering. Amazingly, Ambetter had just a $1,750 silver-plan deductible in 2014.
Silver Deductibles Cut Bronze Subsidies
The problem for exchange shoppers is that ObamaCare premium subsidies are set based on the cost of the second cheapest silver plan in each market. The effect of Centene’s sky-high-deductible strategy is to scrunch down silver-plan premiums closer to the cost of a bronze plan and shrink the government subsidies that are supposed to help make coverage affordable. If customers don’t like the cheap Ambetter silver plans on offer, they’ll have less of a subsidy to buy a bronze plan or a silver plan from a competitor.
Thanks to Centene, the subsidy available to 30-year-olds earning $30,500, just over 250% of the poverty level, will shrink from about $627 this year to $571 next year in Indianapolis, an IBD analysis finds.
Centene pursued the same hard-nosed strategy this year, selling silver plans with bronze-like deductibles of $5,500 and $6,500 in Miami, Atlanta and Jackson, Miss. While its cheap silver plans have helped the company boost enrollment, it’s no coincidence that those three markets are the most expensive major markets on HealthCare.gov for buying subsidized bronze plans.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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