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Michiganders should expect to pay more for Obamacare next year

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Thecost of Obamacare health insurance plans will likely rise next year in Michigan. 

272,000 Michiganders signed up for health insurance using the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.   They will be paying more for those plans if proposed rate increases released this week are approved by state and federal regulators.

Josh Fangmeier is a health policy analyst with the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation at the University of Michigan.    

He says he wasn’t surprised to see Blue Cross/Blue Shield proposing rate increases of 9.3% to 9.7% on their Obamacare health plans.

“What we’re seeing, with Blues plans across various states, that they’re proposing rate increases that are really in line with what Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan is proposing,” says Fangmeier. 

Fangmeier notes that other health insurance companies are proposing to decrease the rates on their Obamacare health care plans.  Though, these were plans that were higher priced policies that few people in Michigan opted to sign up for. 

Fangmeier says the rising rates don’t necessarily mean Obamacare is not working to keep the cost of health insurance down.    He points out that some health care insurance plans rates were rising at a double digit pace before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

“Even though these increases look substantial… it does come in a little bit less than what they were before the Affordable Care Act took effect,” says Fangmeier.

We won’t know until this fall exactly what health care plans and at what cost will be available on the Affordable Care Act marketplace.     Not all plans will be available in all parts of Michigan.   Insurers may decide to drop their proposed plans after passing through the state and federal regulatory process. 

The next Obamacare enrollment period begins in November 15th.

More than 80 percent of Michiganders signing up for health insurance through Obamacare qualified for a federal subsidy to help them pay for the coverage.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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