By Ferdous Al-Faruque - 06/05/14 10:46 AM EDT
Health insurance premiums grew on average 10 percent annually in the three years before ObamaCare went into effect according to a new study.
Critics of the Affordable Care Act have warned premiums will soar under the rules and regulations of the law. But until now there has been little data available with which to compare the premium increases.
A study from the Commonwealth Fund published Thursday found premiums in 22 states grew on average 10 percent each year from 2008 to 2010.
“These findings provide a benchmark to compare future trends against to help determine if the Affordable Care Act is achieving one of its major goals and that is to provide comprehensive health insurance to nearly all Americans at a price they can afford,” said David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund.
States will be releasing premium rates for ObamaCare plans over the summer, with prices expected to rise in many states. If premiums spike, it will give fodder to Republicans to attack Democrats ahead of the November elections.
Blumenthal noted that even if premiums rise, 85 percent of the 8 million people who enrolled through ObamaCare are eligible for subsidies to help them pay for insurance.
Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of the report, noted the findings also showed there were wide discrepancies between years, states and insurers when it came to increasing premiums.
He noted that in some states, rates increased only 3 percent but other states saw an increase of 21 percent.
Gruber says there wasn’t enough data to explain the wide discrepancies in premium rates, but said that will change under the healthcare law.
"The big advantage of the ACA is that there will now be data available on what rates actually are for all the states," he said. "From 2014 to 2015 for the first time ever we’ll have a comprehensive look at how are rates growing in this market."