MT Officials ‘Frustrated’ by Jump in Affordable Care Act Insurance Prices
Health Insurance rates on the Affordable Care Act marketplace in Montana are jumping up by as much as 40% in some cases, and state officials are calling the news “frustrating.”
“Insurance rates are going up in 2016," said Montana State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen's Public Information Officer Jennifer McKee. "It’s a frustrating situation that Monica has been working hard on for the better part of this year. Rates vary by age and region in Montana, so it’s difficult to give an across-the-board example of the percentage, but, take for example a popular Silver level plan; let’s say you are an average, 40-year-old, non-smoker, the difference of a monthly cost would be between $80 and $88, depending on where you live and where you bought from. That’s $80 a month more in 2016 than in 2015.”
According to McKee, pent-up demand by a public that needed health care, but couldn't access it may be a major contributor to the insurance spike, but there could be other reasons as well.
“Another factor was that companies were competing head-to-head for market share," McKee said. "It’s possible that prices may have been set, in an effort to be competitive and that, combined with the pent up demand may have made companies realize that they have to charge more this year in order to maintain the financial health of their companies.”
McKee also pointed out that the rising costs will only directly impact the pocket books of about 15% of Montanans enrolled through Healthcare.gov.
“Eighty five percent of Montanans that bought insurance and will be paying these prices next year, are getting a tax credit. And the way the tax credit is structured, it is capped at a certain percentage of the buyers income. So for those 85%, which is about 42,000 Montanans, they actually won’t see this increase. These numbers are certainly important, but the practical implication to Montanan’s pocketbooks may not be as high as it seems.”
To see if your rates are going up, or if your plan has had significant changes, go here.