Even though insurance rates a increasing at a slower rate than they have in the past 50 years, families continue to express concern about being able to afford insurance, both company provided and through the Affordable Care Act.  A new analysis, released recently the Federal Health and Human Services Department is designed to put Americans concerns to rest. 

Even in a hypothetical scenario put forth in the plan, even a double digit increase in the insurance rate would leave insurance, the vast majority of consumers would continue to have affordable options.  In the scenario rates were increased by 25%,  the vast majority of Kansas consumers (67%) would still be able to purchase coverage for less than $75 per month. 

Here’s why.    

Tax Credits go up along with premiums. Tax credits are designed to protect consumers from rate increases and keep coverage affordable. So if all premiums in a market go up by similar amounts, the tax credits will increase in a parallel amount, which means the large majority of consumers in that market will not have to pay more.

Consumers can shop around to find the best plan.  Marketplaces let consumers compare prices, plan designs, and networks to find the best fit for them.

Current Marketplace rates are far below initial Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections. Independent researchers recently calculated that 2016 Marketplace rates will land somewhere between 12% and 20% below what the Congressional Budget Office initially predicted.

All Marketplace premiums for 2017 will be finalized and public in October.

Both Marketplace and non-Marketplace consumers are benefiting from slow health care cost growth since the enactment of the ACA, the report says.  Since 2010, per-enrollee costs in both public and private health insurance have grown more slowly than in previous decades – contributing to lower-than-expected costs in the Marketplace.

The average premium for employer-sponsored family coverage rose about 4% in 2015.  That’s a rate almost half the average 8% per year rate increase s experienced from 2000 through 2010.  Because of that slowed increase, the national average family premium was $2,600 lower in 2015 than it would have been if growth had continued at 2000-2010 rates.

Even with this significant slowdown, premium growth remains a challenge for businesses and families. “That’s why the Administration is working to develop new,  innovative ways of paying for care that align payment with improved outcomes and can help sustain and build on the slowdown in health care costs,” wrote HHS representatives in a recent release.  

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