Obamacare Premiums Jump 25 Percent: What Are Your Other Options?

By Jason Hargraves

Health care costs will be an important topic for the next president, especially with the announcement that premiums in the Obamacare exchanges are expected to increase about 25 percent for midlevel 2017 plans.

This expected increase, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, will affect 39 states.

The financial impact of these changes will be greatest on middle class Americans enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges who earn too much money to qualify for federal subsidies.

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“The incoming administration will play a critical role in ensuring those consumers, and all Americans, continue to have access to quality, affordable coverage,” says Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, a nonprofit health care enrollment coalition.

In addition to the rise in premiums, Americans participating in Obamacare in 2017 are expected to face limited options because major insurers, such as Aetna and Humana, have scaled back their roles in the exchanges. Other insurance companies have left the program altogether.

“We’re seeing more and more consolidation in the world of health insurance, and that is somewhat driven by [Obamacare], and some worry that this will mean consumers will have less choice in the future,” says Robert Hartwig, past president of the Insurance Information Institute.

All of this is expected to create a “tumultuous open enrollment period,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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The enrollment period for Obamacare coverage in 2017 begins Nov. 1, 2016 and runs through Jan. 31, 2017.

Enroll America wants the next administration to continue expanding efforts to engage consumers around their health choices through a variety of sources.

Health insurance options other than Obamacare

Health insurance policies can vary widely among the states so it's not easy to find insurance that's both affordable and adequate when you are out searching on your own. For instance, urban areas can have lots of physicians making the choices seem endless. Rural areas, meanwhile, can leave people under-utilizing an HMO because there aren't enough nearby physicians on the plan.

And your state may limit your options for raising deductibles or cutting back on coverage to lower the price.

Confused? Don't be. Let NetQuote walk you through the process. They can also help you figure out ways to lower your premiums, such as choosing a high-deductible plan and explaining Health Savings Accounts.

Here are some popular ways you can find private health insurance:

From an online health insurance seller. These services offer health plans from a number of insurance companies. They let you compare prices and features and then enroll with the insurance company. This offers ease and convenience, letting you compare different polices and prices from your own home. Often, you can be connected with an insurance agent immediately if you are ready to purchase and get your coverage started.

Directly from an insurance company. You can contact any health insurance company and see plans available in your area. Many have websites that let you compare all plans they sell.

Through an insurance agent or broker. Generally, agents work for a single health insurance company, while brokers sell plans from several. Both can help you compare plans and complete your enrollment. You don’t pay more by using an agent or broker. They’re generally paid by the insurance company whose plans they sell. They may not be able to sell all available Marketplace plans.

Obamacare coverage or private insurer?

Whether you buy through the ACA marketplace or choose a private insurer, all policies must provide the minimum essential coverage that fulfills Obamacare’s shared responsibility provision.

  • Free preventive care for certain consitions, which include tests and services
  • No denial for pre-existing
  • Dependent child coverage for up to age 26.

Even your cost of private insurers is determined by guidelines set by the federal government. The only factors for giving you a quote is:

  • Age
  • Tobacco use
  • ZIP code
  • Category of plans
  • Enrolling as one person or enrolling an entire family