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Premiums under Affordable Care Act lower than CBO estimated

June 19, 2013 at 10:27 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 19 (UPI) -- An analysis of the initial health plan filings in nine states finds premium rates appear to be falling below U.S. government estimates, analysts say.

Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health, a Washington firm that delivers research, analysis, insight and strategy for leaders in healthcare business and policy, said information on the nine states was publicly available and represent a cross section of geography and state size, including two federally facilitated exchanges.

The Avalere Health analysis found under the Affordable Care Act the second-lowest cost, or "Silver," premiums appear to be lower than the Congressional Budget Office estimated.

Premiums for the second-lowest cost plans for a 40-year-old non-smoker range from a low of $205 in one region in Oregon to a high of $413 in another region in Vermont, the analysis said.

The CBO previously projected nationwide the average monthly premium for the second-lowest cost Silver plan would be $433.

Pearson said these Silver premiums for those buying an individual healthcare plan are to be used to set federal premium subsidies. If premiums are lower than projected by the CBO, federal costs for per-person subsidies may be lower than expected, thus saving the federal government money, Pearson said.

"The initial data suggest that competition in exchanges is working to lower premiums, which will benefit non-subsidized enrollees and the federal government," Pearson said.

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