It's become clear that few people will be exempt from the 2016 health insurance premium increases already in place, and scheduled to take effect after the first of the year. According to a report in the Washington Post, consumers who purchased Silver health plans on the healthcare.gov website can expect a rather sharp increase in rates, unless they switch to a more affordable plan. This comes on the heels of thousands who received notices informing them that their existing carrier-bought plans would see increases ranging from 20-40% in the new year.
This is troubling to many, especially those who specifically choose a "silver" health insurance plan on account of it being the lowest priced. In this article we'll examine who's affected, how much of a premium increase to expect, and what can be done to keep coverage affordable.
Which Affordable Care Act Plans Will Have Higher Premiums?
From the information we're hearing, those who purchased Silver healthcare plans through healthcare.gov will see their premiums increase, provided they do not switch to a lower-priced plan by the stated deadline. The irony of this is that many who selected the Silver option, did so because it was the most inexpensive option in their geographic area. If the rate increase affects you and you're not comfortable with your new monthly premium, you will need to make sure that you've signed up for your new plan by December 15th for coverage on the 1st of the new year.
How Much Will Rates Be Increasing?
At the time of this writing the premium increase on Silver plans is expected to average 15%, though the information is early and the numbers could vary from region to region. So if you're currently paying, let's say $300 per month for coverage, your new premium might be somewhere in the $340-350 range. Again, this is just an educated guestimate and more details can be expected in weeks to come. If this is an increase that's simply out of your financial range, an ACA-experienced health insurance agent can help you find one that's more in line with your budget.
How Can I Keep My Premiums Affordable?
Aside from applying for a healthcare subsidy, shopping new plans appears to be the only realistic option for those who looking to keep their premiums within budget. As we mentioned in our article about what's new for the 2016 open enrollment, many plans and coverage options have seen sweeping changes since enrollment began in November. Moreover, just as many will be cancelled due to significant large-network PPO changes at the carrier level.
When you take all of these factors into consideration, it's not a bad idea for everyone to take a close look at their current policy. If you're not sure on where to begin, contacting an agent who genuinely understands the complexity of the new system is an excellent starting point.
Where to Get Help with Plan Changes and Premium Increases
If you're in Illinois or the Chicagoland area, Premier offers free assistance on all health insurance-related matters. This includes modifying existing plans or coverage, choosing a new, more affordable health plan, applying for federal healthcare subsidies, family and individual coverage, assistance with carrier contact and documents, and more.
Call Premier today at 800-369-0287 to speak with an agent or schedule a time to meet, or write to us through our secure contact page. We charge no fees for our services and offer extended hours at our Lisle agency throughout Open Enrollment.