Average ObamaCare premium rises 5 percent

Average ObamaCare premium rises 5 percent
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The average monthly ObamaCare premium grew by about 5 percent over last year once financial assistance is factored in, according to government data released Friday. 

The average monthly premium on the ObamaCare marketplace is $106 this year, compared to $101 last year, according to a new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report. 

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Those figures factor in the financial assistance under the healthcare law that substantially lowers the premiums consumers have to pay. Eighty-five percent of enrollees qualified for financial assistance. 

Before factoring in financial assistance, the average monthly premium rose from $364 to $396, growth of about 9 percent. 

ObamaCare premium increases are an area of intense scrutiny, and while the data show that premiums are rising, the average increases are far more modest than the double-digit spikes for some plans in some states that often draw attention. 

These figures are only for the 38 states that use the federal HealthCare.gov system; lower premium increases have been reported in some state-run marketplaces. 

One reason that the premium increases for consumers were not higher is that many people switched plans between 2015 and 2016. The administration has encouraged people to shop around for the best deal. 

People who switched plans saved 24 percent after financial assistance, compared to people who stayed in the same plan, according to the HHS report. 

The HHS report also found that 4.9 million of the 12.7 million enrollees this year were new customers. The percentage of young enrollees ages 18 to 34, who help balance out older enrollees and keep premiums down, remained flat from last year, at 28 percent.