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Some states will see premiums rise under Affordable Care Act

Aug. 6, 2013 at 9:36 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- While New Yorkers and Californians may pay less for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, residents in other state will pay more, a review indicated.

States where health insurance premiums could increase are states where insurers can sell bare-bones plans and exclude the sick, which has kept costs down, CNNMoney reported Tuesday.

Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, insurers must offer a package of essential benefits and must cover all who apply.

Under healthcare reform, all Americans must be covered by insurance beginning next year or face penalties of $95 or 1 percent of family income, whichever is greater. Enrollment in the insurance exchanges begins Oct. 1 and coverage begins in January. Plans are divided into four coverage levels, ranging from bronze to platinum.

Some states where the insurance industry is lightly regulated -- including Indiana, Ohio, Florida and South Carolina, which have opposed ACA -- recently released preliminary rate information highlight steep price increases.

In Florida, for instance, officials crafted a hypothetical silver-level plan based on what's available now, CNNMoney reported. They then examined the cost of that plan to the average silver plan that will be available on the exchange come Oct. 1. Florida officials said premiums will rise 7.6 percent to 58.8 percent, depending on the insurer.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said the main driver for the increase is the mandate that coverage be offered to everyone.

CNNMoney said Florida has just fewer than 1 million enrollees in the individual market and 3.8 million uninsured. The state does not allow new entrants into a high-risk pool that provides coverage to the sick.

"People who are in their 50s with high blood pressure have no coverage options," McCarty said.

Rate hikes still must be reviewed by the federal government, CNNMoney said.

The hikes also don't consider Americans with incomes as high as $45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four will be eligible for federal subsidies.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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