Analysis: ObamaCare premiums to rise an average of 8 percent

Premiums on ObamaCare's health insurance exchanges will rise an average of 8 percent next year, according to an initial analysis of nine states released Wednesday.

Consulting firm Avalere Health found that the average premium for a silver plan will rise from $324 to $350 in the states studied.

Premium hikes will range from 2.5 percent in Rhode Island to 16 percent in Indiana. Oregon was the only state surveyed that will see prices fall on average, with a projected price decrease of 1.4 percent.

Most of the proposed rate increases defy the dire predictions made by ObamaCare's critics, who said sick enrollees on the exchange would force insurers to drive up prices for 2015.

The average projected increase of 8 percent was also slightly lower than before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Studies have indicated the premiums on the individual market grew by double digits before the law was implemented. The Commonwealth Fund, a research foundation, recently pegged the figure at 10 percent every year.

Avalere's analysis used averages to sketch the likely trajectory of 2015 premiums.

Individually, consumers will see a mix of more pronounced price increases and decreases based on plan, age and location. Rates are also expected to change after state regulators review them this summer.

Avalere encouraged people with coverage on the exchanges to comparison shop during the next enrollment period, as variation among premiums is projected to increase next year.

"The variability of 2015 premiums by state underscores that healthcare is local, and individuals can, and should, evaluate their options to find the best deal for them," said Avalere CEO Dan Mendelson in a statement.

The analysis looked at preliminary rate filings in Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

Most other states are still in the process of disclosing insurers' proposed rates.

The premium prices cited by Avalere did not include the subsidies available on the exchanges for people making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

Premium tax credits lowered the average price of a plan from $346 to $82 this year, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.