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Healthy State tells the stories you need to know to stay well, with a special focus on Florida.We'll bring you the latest fitness trends, new research on preventing and treating disease, and information about how health policy impacts your pocketbook.We report on health using all the tools at our disposal -- video, audio, photos and text -- to bring these stories to life.Healthy State is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at wusfnews.org.

Obamacare Rates Expected To Increase By 8.8 Percent


For the first time in years, health insurance premiums sold on the Affordable Care Act marketplace in Florida are not expected to rise by double digits.

Insurance companies filed preliminary rates, which show an average increase of 8.8 percent.

Last year, the average premium increase was 45 percent after the federal government stop paying some subsidies to insurance companies.

In 2017, the average increase was nearly 18 percent.

Rabah Kamal is an analyst for The Kaiser Family Foundation. She says the smaller increase could reflect that the market is stabilizing and insurers are making money.

“Insurers are doing quite well in the individual market on the ACA and many insurers started to turn a profit for the first time last year,” Kamal said.

Premiums may have been even lower had lawmakers not repealed the individual mandate, which forced everyone to purchase health insurance, Kamal said.

“The rate increases could be even smaller and in some cases might even drop if it weren't for the repeal of the individual mandate penalty,” she said.

Nine companies submitted rate filings for the individual market and seven of them are requesting to sell plans on the Affordable Care Act federal exchange.

Fourteen companies submitted rate filings for the small group market and the average increase was 7 percent.

The rate filings are preliminary and the companies have until August to adjust them.

Last year, premiums on the individual market rose another 20 percent after the initial filings because insurance companies anticipated correctly that the federal government would stop providing subsidies called cost sharing reductions, which help low-income consumers pay for deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs.

Though rates have gone up every year, most consumers do not see an out-of-pocket increase because different federal subsidies that help pay for premiums offset the cost.

Copyright 2018 Health News Florida

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