In the past two weeks, a handful of states have rolled out premium tax credits to help lower-income people afford coverage, including Alaska, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.
New York has the most popular insurance exchange program, and more than 10 million New Yorkers have enrolled in plans through the state’s exchange since it launched on Sept. 1.
But the state has seen an uptick in premium increases since the end of the Affordable Care Act.
The average monthly premium has increased by more than $400 since January, and the state saw a 4 percent jump in medical costs in September compared with the same month last year, according to a report from the New York Insurance Institute.
The number of New Yorkers who are covered through the exchange grew by more at least 10 percent between January and September than the average rate for all residents of New York state, according a recent report from Bloomberg.
In other states, such as Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota have seen premium increases of up to 25 percent, according, to a Bloomberg report.
In Pennsylvania, where the state had been the second-most expensive for insurance since the Affordable Health Care Act, average premium increases have been over 40 percent, and there has been a 17 percent increase in the cost of premiums for older people, according the report.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a recent study from Georgetown University found that more than half of all Americans are now covered through their employer-sponsored health insurance plans, and that the number is expected to grow in coming years.
With the ACA’s individual mandate and subsidies, people with preexisting conditions are being asked to pay more for their insurance.
But some experts say that premium increases are not the only cause for people to consider switching.
Many older Americans, who have been able to maintain coverage under their current plans through their jobs, are opting out of the marketplaces, according and former Obama administration official Richard Painter, who is now a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
And many people who do decide to go on the exchange are not in need of a premium increase, according Toobin.
As insurers continue to struggle to cope with a rapidly rising enrollment, some insurers are now looking to sell more affordable plans for their customers.
But, as with many other health care decisions, there is a catch: People who are healthy are often more likely to sign up for expensive plans than those who are not, according.
Even though insurance companies are increasingly focused on enrolling healthier people in the exchanges, those who do opt out will likely pay more.
If insurers were able to keep pace with the demand for cheaper policies, many would simply lower the premiums, according David Cutler, a senior vice president at Avalere Health, a health care consulting firm.
But that won’t happen, he said, because insurers are seeing a higher demand for coverage and are now spending more money to subsidize plans that they don’t want to subsidise.
That’s a good thing for consumers, Cutler said, but it won’t solve the underlying problem that many Americans face: Their insurance policies are often unaffordable.
“If the premium increases aren’t going to make up for the fact that more people are not buying insurance, then people are going to keep shopping and going without insurance,” he said.
Insurance companies have a difficult time making ends meet because they have to cover all of their customers and the health care industry as a whole is not sustainable, he added.
People who want to buy insurance on the individual market have to go out and spend money, Cutler added.
“There are going be a lot of people who are going out and buying insurance and paying for it, but that’s not going to cover everybody.”