Premiums to Rise For Obamacare's Cheapest Plans



What's really going on with Obamacare premium prices? Are they going up? Going down? Well, ah, yes. The best answer is that it's complicated; it depends on which premiums you're looking at, in what areas of the country, and when. 

Back in September, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that, based on a study of 16 major metro areas, that "benchmark silver plans"—the second cheapest plans in the middle or "silver" tier of health insurance available through the law's exchanges—would drop by 1 percent, on average. Plans in some places, like Nashville, would rise, but overall the price was going down just a little.

Great news! Obamacare premiums are going down! Or are they?

Last week, Jed Graham of Investor's Business Daily reported that, after looking at premium prices in the largest city in 15 different states, plus Washington, D.C., he found that the cost of the cheapest "bronze" plans—the lowest tier of coverage available on the exchanges—would rise by 14 percent next year.

In some cities, Graham reports, they'll go up by a lot more than that:

In Seattle, the cost of the cheapest bronze plan, after subsidies, will soar 64%, from $60 to $98 per month, for individuals at this income level. Some other cities seeing notable gains include Providence (up 38%, from $72 to $99 per month); Los Angeles (up 27%, from $88 to $111); Las Vegas (up 22%, from $100 to $122); and New York (up 18%, from $97 to $114).

Of the people who picked bronze-level plans, Graham notes, 39 percent picked the cheapest option. So this could impact quite a few people.

Depending on how you measure it, then, plan premiums are either going down or up in various parts of the country.

What we still don't really know, though, is what the overall picture looks like, either in terms of the plans that are on offer or the plans that people are actually picking for themselves. That's because a lot of information about premiums and subsidy amounts, especially in the federal exchanges, is on hold until the middle of next month.

Only then will we actually get a complete look at the various costs and options. The timing isn't an accident either. Last year's open enrollment period started in October. This year's open enrollment, and thus the release of the information it makes available, was delayed until just after the election. 

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  1. This year’s open enrollment, and thus the release of the information it makes available, was delayed until just after the election.


    1. Hey, I’m sure it’s good news for the administration.

      1. The majority of Americans never wanted this monstrosity. It was built on calculated lies, told repeatedly, and it is sustained on lies.

        What’s more – it doesn’t make anything cheaper AT ALL. I tried for hours to find a health insurance plan for less then $500/month and COULD NOT DO IT. I’m a 28 year old healthy male. No reason I should be paying that much. I never even go to the doctors. They are counting on the healthy to pay for the old and unhealthy. Nope, not me.. not falling for it. I’d rather just take the $100 penalty.

        Why can’t it be more like auto insurance? Private market.. easy to get quotes. I can go online and get a $25/month auto quote from Insurance Panda, but when it comes to health insurance, I use the government’s SCAM website and have to pay out the eyeballs. WOW

        This is a bad law, and should be repealed, but Obama and the Democrats won’t hear of it because Obamacare was never about health care, it was and is about power and control

    2. It’s truly bizarre how much publicly available news about these sorts of shenanigans is out there, yet is seemingly ignored. Do people like getting fucked over?

      1. People don’t know. The media covers for the government all the time, excusing and papering over its failures and lies. We only know because we read things like this article.

        The media can’t truly hide things from people, but they don’t have to, they just have to keep it quiet as much as possible, and that’s enough. And believe me, they know it and actively smother stories, because they are mendacious scum.

          1. Yes, Agent Scully, it is.

            1. If only people wanted to hear it.

      2. And yet we’re the crazy ones for not wanting the government involved in the healthcare business.

        1. Government intervention drives up prices insanely pretty much everywhere, but we keep letting it intervene.

          I have an idea. How about a free market in healthcare and health insurance? So pricing would be more like that for TVs–the cutting edge might be pricy, but everything else would get cheaper. Why not Walmart doctors?

          1. You idiot. The poor can’t afford TVs, how could they afford doctors?

            1. If I had my way, we’d see a convergence in TVs, robot vacuum cleaners, and doctors.

              1. All Walmart doctors would do is remove healthy organs to sell to China.

                1. . . .and replace them with artificial organs. Sounds like a good trade to me.

                  1. …unless said artificial organs were made in China.

                    1. Of course they will be, but to our specifications.

          2. I think we all underestimate the complicity of the media (and entertainment) in covering up for and excusing the government’s waste, fraud, lies, failures, and everything else it does wrong (which is everything). Think of how much the media lies and spins, or how TV shows glorify the President or politicians or cops, and how few do the opposite. There’s a relentless daily campaign by a large portion of the media and entertainment industry, sometimes consciously, sometimes incidentally, that keeps telling us that government is fundamentally good, that it is populated by fundamentally good and selfless people, and that it is absolutely necessary even at its current massive size.

            This has more of an effect than you think.

            1. This idea that we should let journalists, of all people, be gatekeepers is absurd. I mean, do you know any journalists? They’re almost at the bottom of people I’d let near any decision-making.

              No offense to those employed hereabouts, of course, who are of a different breed, for the most part.

              1. If you create a position of power–even limited power like gatekeeping–the worst possible people will gravitate to it.

                This is a fundamental behavior that needs to be kept in mind regarding every position there is. From DMV worker to HR staffer to cop to journalist to Senator. The more power the position has, the worse are the people who will seek it out. Different types of power hungry gravitate to the different positions, but it’s what happens regardless.

                1. Ultimately, the flaw with any political or economic system, one that cannot be totally done away with, is people. We’re fucked up. Which is why any system that doesn’t account for that or that assumes the opposite is doomed to failure.

                  1. They are all doomed to failure, the only thing in question is at what rate will they fail. The less power that is granted to individuals over others, the slower the fail rate will be.

                    1. Which is why we all need invincibility and post-scarcity economics. A world of supermen.

            2. My wife has the TV on every waking moment, which is why I go to another room almost every night to read. A typical evening of prime time TV is essentially 3 hours of propaganda.

              On some level you can’t blame people who glorify cops as heros. It’s all they’ve ever known.

              1. Sadly, people don’t see the truth until they’ve been a crime victim or accused of a crime, and even then they often still make excuses for the cops.

            3. *Think of how much the media lies and spins, or how TV shows glorify the President or politicians or cops, and how few do the opposite.*

              Unless the President is Republican, then it’s WHERE’S MAH BUSH?

              1. Correction, then it’s THAT’S MAH BUSH. Yuk yuk yuk.

  2. I never get tired of seeing that banner. Go High School Booster Club!

  3. Premiums to Rise For Obamacare’s Cheapest Plans, and Pretty Much Everyone Else’s Too


  4. My insurance just went up $150/month. Was able to offset it a little by calling the cable company and asking them if they had any promotions I could take advantage of, and they lowered my bill by $40 for a year.

    1. Also I switched from AT&T to Consumer Cellular. That saved another $50/month.

      1. Is that the company for senior citizens that sells the phones with the giant buttons?

        1. Jitterbug? No. CC works with any AT&T phone, or you can buy a phone from them. They sell Apple and Android, along with a couple flip phones. The plans are cheap, no contract, and you can change them at any time. I’d recommend them to anyone.


          1. I did the one through WalMart (Smart Talk?). Even buying a brand new iPhone 5 outright (Smart Talk switched from renting from AT&T to renting from Verizon about the time I started with them, so I had to replace my GSM phone with a dual band), my break-even for being under contract at AT&T was 14 months. $46.50/month for 3 gig of data and unlimited talk and text.

            1. That’s a good deal.

            2. I switched to T-Mobile from Verizon, bought my Nexus 5 outright, and got the second-cheapest plan, and it’s $63/month after taxes and surcharges. And I have no contract. And free international text and data (this was very handy in Europe over the summer). I’ve been very pleased with T-Mobile and the Nexus 5.

            3. I knew somebody who worked T-Mobile management so I got the Gimme Everything for Free Plan for a couple years – until that somebody got re-orged from T-Mobile. I do miss the Gimme Everything for Free Plan.

              So now I’m on the monthly gig with the wife and a pal, works out to $40/month and we always buy phones outright. T-Mobile has hot and cold spots in LA like every other carrier, but they’re great internationally and have probably the most latent bandwidth among the big telcos at any given moment on their network.

    2. *Was able to offset it a little by calling the cable company*

      Why not just cancel cable? You’re funding the destruction of America by giving those bastards money.

  5. Premiums to Rise For Obamacare’s Cheapest Plans

    *shocked face*

  6. it depends on which premiums you’re looking at, in what areas of the country, and when.

    That’s not fair. Everybody should pay the same premium, regardless of age, health, occupation, or place of residence.

    1. And everyone’s premiums should rise, so we can all feel the effects of this wonderful bill.

  7. Peter, the subsidies are based on the premiums of the silver plans (something like second cheapest silver plan IIRC), right? So for people enrolling, premium increases of the bronze plans but not the silver plans is actually worse, since they’ll have to pay more but won’t get more subsidies. OTOH, it means that taxpayer subsidies shouldn’t be expected to go up much.

    1. “benchmark silver plans”?the second cheapest plans in the middle or “silver” tier of health insurance available through the law’s exchanges?would drop by 1 percent, on average.

      I.e., the “benchmark silver plans” are the ones used to set the subsidies. So if I read this correctly, subsidies are staying the same, but the plans most people actually pick are getting more expensive.

  8. Great. Raise the premiums on Bronze plans which their owners can’t afford to use because of the $5000 deductibles. This way we’ll get some money out of them anyway, even if they avoid using any services just as many did before Obamacare. Here’s a question I’ve never seen raised in the media: if you have to go to the doctor or Emergency without being able to pay out of pocket, as the working poor will still be forced to do, will you be able to bankrupt out of the debts every five years? Or is it going to be like student loans?

  9. ACA is not just a product of the President. There were several aspects of ACA that people tend to forget, or choose not to remember.
    1. Romney came up with the model first. ACA is based on his model.
    2. Insurance companies had significant input in drafting the act.
    3. Employers were preparing for ACA long before it was presented to
    Congress. Health care benefits are the single most largest
    expense of any business. When FTE’s leave (for whatever reason)
    they are replaced with PTs, On-Calls, or Temps, thus avoiding
    having to pay benefits. (less 32hrs q week, a fed rule).
    4. Insurance is just like any other commodity. It’s market driven.
    Region, number of patients insured, and bone-headed politicians,
    whose only interests in what their donors want, not what is
    best for their communities, are factors driving the costs up or
    down. ACA is not an insurance plan.
    5. Ancillary services , i.e., supplies, labs, pharmaceuticals,
    may or may not be reimbursable based on what you choose to
    pay for. MD’s are a separate bill.

    I have an uncle, used this analogy when listening to whiners bitch about the cost of anything. “People can cry broke all they want, but they always have money for their beer and cigarettes.” Set your priorities, health care or a cable bill. Try reading a book, you might learn something. Newspapers don’t scream at you.

    Thank you.

    a data bank of insurance plans available.

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