Obama for VQH

Remember the promise from President Obama?  We were told the average family would see a savings of $2,500 a year under ObamaCare.  But, a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows premiums continue to rise.

They recently released an analysis on the changes for some of the more middle of the road ObamaCare insurance plans in several major cities in 12 states and Washington, D.C. They found that premium rates could spike by as much as 22.8 percent.

Rates are set to rise in eight of the surveyed states and the District of Columbia, while only four states studied will likely see a decrease in their premium rates.

If you live in Detroit, Los Angeles, Seattle or in Hartford, Connecticut, your rates may decrease. Only Seattle has a double-digit decline of 10.1 percent. On the flip side, if you live in Portland, Oregon or Albuquerque, New Mexico, your rates are about to jump by double digits.

See the graphic below:

Notice that if you live in Portland, Oregon, your premium rate for a standard “silver” level plan could increase by 22.8 percent. That’s a massive hit to the bottom line of a family. Seeing a health insurance bill that is nearly a quarter larger than it was in 2015 means that many families would have to cut back on other needed spending in order to cover those increased health care costs.

Some insurance plans are also trimming back the available network of doctors and hospitals they cover, so if you live in a state where the costs are going up, you could be paying higher premiums and losing access to your doctor or hospital.

As the Kaiser study notes, “Premium growth in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces has been an area of significant interest, as this is one of the most tangible and measurable indicators of whether the ACA is working to keep health insurance affordable.”

For many Americans, both within ObamaCare and also in the private market, there has not been a big decrease in their insurance premium costs, and a story in the New York Times says it could get even worse.

The Times reports that, “Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected.”

Reporter Robert Pear illustrates just how bad it could be in Oregon, if you have one of the two largest plans in the state.

The Oregon insurance commissioner, Laura N. Cali, has just approved 2016 rate increases for companies that cover more than 220,000 people. Moda Health Plan, which has the largest enrollment in the state, received a 25 percent increase, and the second-largest plan, LifeWise, received a 33 percent increase.

Jesse Ellis O’Brien of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group makes a great point. He told The Times, “Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here. Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”

Whether you live in Oregon, New Mexico, Vermont or one of the other states looking at increases in the premium costs of their insurance plans, you and your family may be asking that very question. Is insurance in the ObamaCare era affordable? The answer for many is no.

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