GOP slams O-Care premium hike in Ohio

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The GOP pounced Friday on news from state officials that premiums on Ohio's ObamaCare insurance marketplace will increase 13 percent on average next year.

Healthcare experts say 2015 hikes will vary widely by state, but any significant increases will fuel attacks on ObamaCare ahead of the midterm elections.

House Republicans immediately blasted Ohio's projected $42-a-month increase as "rate shock" for consumers.

"While the law’s supporters declare this debate over, the sad fact remains that the president’s healthcare law has been fraught with broken promises leaving American families and businesses to pay the price," the House Energy and Commerce majority staff wrote in an email.

Thirteen percent is above the average 7 percent increase projected by the Society of Actuaries for next year, but below more dire predictions from ObamaCare's critics and some industry officials.

The figure also represents an average increase among all plans, regardless of pricing tier.

Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that ObamaCare requires rate increases at or above 10 percent to to be examined by independent experts.

“Before the Affordable Care Act, consumers in individual market regularly faced annual double-digit premium increases," Albright said. "This is just the beginning of the process, and, as we saw last year all across the country, proposed rates were a high water mark and final rates were often lower than initially proposed."

A handful of states have announced modest rate increases so far. Most of the prices, including Ohio's, are subject to approval by state regulators and could change.

The Ohio Department of Insurance also said Thursday that the number of companies offering plans on its exchange will rise by two for a total of 16 next year.

Updated at 4:07 p.m.