Off-exchange health plans see 39% to 56% premium increase from 2013

The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) released a study earlier this week finding that Americans looking to purchase health insurance on the state and federal Obamacare exchanges would find higher premiums and less choice than plans available last year on private exchanges.

The findings in the study aren’t surprising given that Obamacare mandates a number of changes to health insurance, including minimum benefits and actuarial requirements, all of which result increase the cost of coverage. Though the NCPPR offered some insight into the higher costs consumers face, it didn’t offer much in real dollars being spent on health insurance coverage compared to 2013 plans.

eHealthInsurance.com (eHealth), however, has released data that does provide some insight into how much consumers are paying for off-exchange health plans compared to a year ago. Despite a multitude of promises that Obamacare would make health coverage more affordable, the eHealth study proves otherwise.

“As of February 24, 2014, the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month,” the nation’s first and largest private exchange noted in a recent press release, ”a 39% increase from the average individual premium for pre-Obamacare coverage.”

“The most recent average premium for plans without a subsidy chosen by families was $663 per month,” the statement continued, “a 56% increase over the average family premium in February, 2013, which was $426 per month.”

President Barack Obama promised that Obamacare would reduce premiums by $2,500 per year. But like so many of the promises the White House has made about the law, that has proven untrue. The data from eHealth show that the average premium has, in fact, risen by $1,272 per year for individuals and $2,844 for families.

eHealth launched the “Daily Health Insurance Price Index,” which offers a real-time look into the average monthly costs of individual and family coverage. The data show that consumers’ initially were paying even more.

“Premiums for individual plans selected by eHealth customers on October 15 averaged $374 per month,” eHealth noted, “but dropped approximately 27% to $274 by late February, 2014.” That trend, however, declined over time as young people began applying for coverage.”

“The average age for individual applicants went from 44 years old in mid-October 2013 to 36 as of February 24, 2014. The average premium for family plans selected by eHealth customers went from $779 in mid-October 2013 to $663 on February 25, 2014,” the private exchange added.


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