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Obamacare Premiums Will Increase by Double Digits in 2017

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On Monday, the Obama administration confirmed reports that premiums for plans purchased under the Affordable Care Act, or, as it’s more commonly known, Obamacare, would increase by double digits in 2017.

Data provided by the administration shows midlevel plans will increase by an average of 25 percent in most states. And, with insurers like UnitedHealth, Humana and Aetna leaving the marketplace or scaling back their offerings, around one in five people using the marketplaces will have only one insurer to choose from. This limited choice of insurers could force those who manage chronic conditions and utilize marketplace plans to have to choose new doctors or try new medications.

Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, more than 20 million Americans have been able to get health insurance. Of those using the health insurance marketplaces, many will not feel the effect of these price increases due to subsidies given out by the federal government to make premiums more affordable.

“Administration officials are stressing that subsidies provided under the law, which are designed to rise alongside premiums, will insulate most customers from sticker shock,” the Associated Press reported. “They add that consumers who are willing to switch to cheaper plans will still be able to find bargains.”

Though healthcare has not been discussed much this election, the next president will likely decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act. Should the election result in a Donald Trump presidency or a Republican majority in Congress, it could spell the end for Obamacare. Both Trump and the Republican party are calling for a full repeal of Obamacare. Democrats support keeping Obamacare, with Hillary Clinton proposing lowering the requirements for financial assistance and improving subsidies.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, it did more than set up a marketplace for uninsured people to buy health insurance, it also created a number of healthcare provisions meant to protect Americans. Before Obamacare, insurers could deny you coverage based on any pre-existing conditions you may have, making it difficult for people with chronic illnesses to get insurance if their plans lapsed in between employers. Given that most people will experience a health problem during their lives, ensuring everyone has access to health insurance means more.

The act also allows young people, those under the age of 26, to stay on their parent’s insurance plan. Before that, children were only able to stay on their parent’s health insurance until they were 19 or 23, if they were a full-time student. Obamacare also makes it easier for millions of people to qualify for and enroll in Medicaid, allowing people who haven’t been able to afford their own coverage to enroll in a government-based program.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: October 25, 2016
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