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New Study Counters Idea of Rate Increases
Hikes under the Affordable Care Act might not be so drastic after all.

Earlier this week, Wisconsin's
insurance commissioner, Ted Nickel, released projected premium hikes for Wisconsin under the Affordable Care Act, and now, a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation -- although not based on data from Wisconsin -- has shed some more light on the debate.

By expanding coverage and bringing millions of patients into the market who were previously uninsured, the law is expected to raise both the risk borne by insurance companies and the services they offer. This is why many conservatives, including Republican Gov. Scott Walker, have predicted drastic increases in premiums, though many of these estimates -- including those released by Nickel -- have declined to factor in applicable tax credits and subsidies, the law's way of ameliorating price increases.

Using information from the 17 states that have already released comprehensive rate filings, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that age groups in many states would pay relatively little for plans purchased through the state-level exchanges mandated by the health care legislation, once subsidies were taken into account. A 40-year-old living in Richmond, Va., for example, would pay $110 a month for the cheapest plan offered and $193 a month for the second-cheapest plan.

Twenty-five-year-old's would pay slightly more, in general, and 60-year-old's would pay significantly less. With subsidies, the cost to a 60-year-old living in Hartford, Conn., to enroll in the cheapest plan would fall from $493 a month to $0, according to the report, with many other projections for seniors coming in under $100 a month.

In Indianapolis, the closest city to Wisconsin that was studied, the cheapest plans were projected to cost $157 a month for 25-year-old's, $148 a month for 40-year-old's and $97 a month for 60-year-old's.

All of the rates estimated above are for individuals at 250 percent of the poverty level ($28,725 a year) buying plans within the state exchanges mandated by the legislation. Subsidies fall off once family income rises above four times the poverty level ($94,000 for a family of four and less for individuals).

(image via Shutterstock)




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