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Now that open enrollment is underway, we’re seeing big increases in health insurance premiums for 2017; they’re rising by an average of 25 percent among 38 states, according to a report released by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The report confirms what many have been speculating all along: Insurers are dropping out of insurance exchanges, and remaining companies are struggling to cover their costs, according to The Washington Post.
The 25 percent increase is the steepest so far. Last year, premiums for the second-lowest-cost silver plans went up by 7.5 percent on average across 37 states, according to Bloomberg.
Even former Pres. Bill Clinton has spoken out about how Obamacare has adversely affected small business owners.
“The people who are getting killed in this deal are small business people and individuals who make just a little too much to get any of these subsidies. Why? Because they’re not organized and they don’t have any bargaining power with insurance companies and they’re getting whacked,” Clinton said in October, adding: “It’s the craziest thing in the world.”
The Obama administration is predicting that 11.4 million people will pick health plans by the end of January—about 1 million more than the number of Americans with such coverage now, according to The Washington Post.
The HHS report paints a dismal picture.
“Among the states relying on HealthCare.gov, the typical number of plans available is declining by more than one-third, from 47 to 30. Competition is falling in all but four of those states, though the decrease varies significantly,” The Post reports. “In Florida, the average marketplace customer will actually have three more plan choices. In Arizona, however, the number of plans will plummet from 65 to four.”
And small businesses still can’t catch a break. Anthony Zurcher of BBC News, Washington, explains how this “protection” really doesn’t include everyone.
“[P]eople caught in between—small business owners and the self-employed—will take it on the chin in states like Arizona (premiums up 116 percent), Oklahoma (69 percent), Tennessee (63 percent), and Minnesota (59 percent).”