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Obamacare rates rise, choices narrow in Michigan

Bruce LaBrecque says there are so many painful issues that a woman's OBGYN might be reluctant to ask about that can be treated with physical therapy.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The next round of Obamacare will cost more for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who get their health insurance through the federal program.

Four fewer companies are offering health insurance plans through Michigan’s Affordable Care Act marketplace next year.  That will directly affect about 10,000 Michiganders currently covered by plans offered by those companies.

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) has approved ten companies to offer insurance, though not all will be available in every county. For example, people living in Wayne County will have a choice of nine insurance carriers.  At the other end of the scale, only one carrier will offer coverage through the ACA marketplace in Schoolcraft County. 

DFIS Department spokeswoman Andrea Miller says rate increases will vary depending on the plan.

“The average increase (among the plans offered by the ten carriers) this time around is 16.7% in the individual market and 2.5% in the small group market,” says Miller.

Obama administration officials say rising tax credits will absorb much of the increase.

“Consumers in Michigan will continue to have affordable Marketplace options next year. Among Marketplace consumers, most will be able to select a plan for less than $75 per month," says Jonathan Gold, Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

About 750,000 Michiganders are enrolled in ACA marketplace individual and the family policies through their small group employer, according to Miller. 

Obamacare sign-ups begin November 1 and must be completed by January 31. 

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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