ObamaCare costs to increase for many

A trove of data released Friday by the Obama administration shows premiums on the exchanges will tick up by mostly single digits next year, though changes vary widely by geography and plan.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released premium data for the marketplaces fewer than 12 hours before they are scheduled to open for a second year of enrollment.


Initial analyses showed that many current enrollees will be better off switching coverage to avoid a premium increase. The Obama administration is encouraging current participants in the exchange to window shop to avoid paying more every month.

"Today’s data provide further evidence that the Affordable Care Act is working to improve competition and choice among Marketplace plans in 2015," said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a statement. "Consumers should shop around, with new options available this year they’re likely to find a better deal."

The data, sought by many before the election, was released in a massive online file. Consulting firm Avalere Health broke out average lowest-cost bronze and silver premiums by state, as well as the benchmark premium for determining subsidies by state.

The firm warned that people who re-enroll in an old exchange plan might pay more due to changes in the benchmark. Policyholders who receive subsidies are required to pay the difference if their plan is more expensive than that standard.

"While automatic renewal could increase continuity of care for many consumers, many enrollees will be better off shopping and comparing again in 2015," said Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health, in a statement.

"In particular, people who do not undergo a redetermination during the open enrollment period could end up paying more than they need to for insurance."

In total, the average lowest bronze premium for a 50-year-old non-smoker will rise 3 percent on the federally facilitated marketplace. Changes by state ranged from a 28 percent hike in Alaska to a 19 percent decrease in Mississippi.

Premiums for the average lowest silver premium will go up by 4 percent, with changes ranging from a 28 percent increase in Alaska to an 18 percent decrease in New Hampshire.