Open enrollment on the Affordable Care Act exchange begins Nov. 1. But how much Hoosiers will pay on the ACA marketplace depends on many factors — including whom is asked.
Last week the Obama administration announced new rates on the federal marketplace will rise an average of 22 percent nationwide. That reported increase, though, is only based on one benchmark Silver plan, which is used to calculate federal subsidies.
For a 40-year old nonsmoker living in Indianapolis, that benchmark Silver plan is actually going cost 4 percent less, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the federal tax credits used to pay for that plan are decreasing 12 percent for the same person.
Seema Verma, an insurance consultant for the state of Indiana, says the benchmark Silver plan is only one option. She notes Hoosiers are going to see a 19 percent increase in the average costs of plans on the federal exchange.
“I think there’s been two numbers thrown around,” she says. “One is this lowest cost Silver plan, and then one is looking at the weighted averages based on the enrollment and where people are.”
The Obama Administration says for most people, the increases will be balanced out by an increase in subsidies.
But Verma isn’t impressed.
“People do get subsidies, but those subsidies are paid by taxpayers, and there are many people who don’t get subsidies and have to pay for those increases out-of-pocket,” Verma says.
The federal exchange offers four different levels of coverage—Bronze, Silver, Gold and Catastrophic, categorized by premium prices, amounts of coverage and out-of-pocket costs. About 60 percent of the 169,000 Hoosiers who buy on the exchange opt for a silver plan, according to the latest federal data available.
Four insurers dropped out of the federal exchange in the last year, a move the state insurance department says leaves more than 68,000 Hoosiers looking for new coverage. Four companies are still selling their plans to Indiana residents on the ACA marketplace in 2017.