By Frank Lewis
It would probably be wise to begin to plan for higher health insurance rates in the coming year. U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said Thursday the Ohio Department of Insurance has announced that average premiums will increase by 12 percent for individuals and small businesses, a 53 percent increase in the past two years, for health plans sold in 2015 on the federal exchange created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Today’s announcement that Ohioans are facing double-digit insurance premium hikes provides more evidence that Obamacare is not working for Ohio families,” Portman said. “That’s money that could have gone toward retirement, groceries, and their children’s higher education; instead it’s going to cover the costly health law.”
Earlier in the year the Ohio Department of Insurance reported that average premiums are increasing by 13 percent for individuals and 11 percent for small businesses for health plans sold in 2015 on the federal exchange created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The 16 companies filing to sell plans on the federal exchange in the individual market proposed average premiums of $374.42 per month compared to $332.58 per month for the same coverage last year. For the small group market, the eight companies filing to sell plans proposed average premiums of $446.78 compared to $401.99 in 2014.
“It’s bad news, no doubt, but it’s what we expected and it’s what the research we did in advance predicted would happen. Ohio has traditionally had a very competitive insurance market which meant our rates were lower than a lot of other states. That means that Obamacare is hitting us harder and driving our costs up significantly,” Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor said. “Higher premiums will continue to put a strain on consumers and small businesses at a time when our state’s economy is showing strong signs of recovery and growth. Continued and unnecessary headwinds out of Washington are making it more difficult for job creators, hard-working Ohioans and their families to purchase health insurance.”
Company premiums ranged from $316.11 to $528.16 for individual market exchange plans, while small group market premiums ranged from $348.87 to $537.96.
In 2010, the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes sweeping changes to America’s health insurance system, became law. It includes the creation of health care exchanges in which individuals and small business owners in every state can purchase qualified coverage. The federal government launched open enrollment in October 2013.
To learn more about the health care exchange you can visit www.healthcare.gov. Ohioans with questions about insurance can call the Department at 1-800-686-1526.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 1928, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.