ObamaCare premiums to rise just 3.6 percent next year, sign of stability: study

ObamaCare premiums to rise just 3.6 percent next year, sign of stability: study

ObamaCare premiums will rise by an average of just 3.6 percent for next year according to a new analysis, a sign of stabilization in the law’s markets.

The analysis from the consulting firm Avalere and The Associated Press looked at 47 states where data was available and found that premium increases will be much lower for 2019 compared to the 30 percent increase on average in 2018.

The lower premium hikes come amid a shift in politics around the law. With Republicans in control of the government and after the failure of ObamaCare repeal last year, the GOP has largely stopped pounding the drum about premium increases the way it did when President Obama was in office.

In fact, Democrats have started to seize on premium increases as evidence that Republicans are driving up costs with their policies, like the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax law last year.

But the modest increases for 2019 might make that case harder to make for Democrats, even as experts say premiums would be lower or possibly even dropping without policies like mandate repeal.

In 41 states, the analysis finds premiums will either drop or rise by less than 10 percent next year. In 11 states, premiums will actually decrease. In six states plus Washington, D.C., premiums will rise between 10 percent and 18 percent.

The number of insurer options is also increasing. Nineteen states will see either new insurers entering the market or current insurers expanding into new areas, the analysis found.

Experts have said that after raising premiums substantially in previous years, insurers are now profitable and do not need to raise their premiums by as much.

Most ObamaCare customers have been shielded from past premium increases by the health law’s subsidies that help people afford coverage.

But people who make too much income to qualify for subsidies face expensive costs for insurance.

A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis in July found that 2.3 million people dropped out of the off-exchange market, where subsidies are not available, between 2017 and 2018.