Federal subsidies to offset premium increases in ACA policies
Posted October 26
Raleigh, N.C. — Insurance premiums for health plans purchased on Affordable Care Act exchanges will increase by an average of 24 percent next year, officials said, but subsidies from the federal government will offset those increases in most cases.
Soaring costs for care and a large number of people with chronic conditions seeking coverage under the ACA are the two main drivers of the higher premiums, but officials said subsidies increase along with the premiums.
About 90 percent of people buying coverage through the HealthCare.gov exchange will qualify for some kind of subsidy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina officials said, and 72 percent of the firm's ACA customers will pay the same or less next year than what they're paying in 2016.
For example, when the subsidy is factored in, a family of four in Wake County with an annual income of $55,000 with a Silver plan from Blue Cross will pay only 40 cents more a month – $337.68 versus $337.28. Without the subsidy, the cost would jump from about $1,200 to about $1,500 a month.
An individual in Wake County with a $28,000 income would pay 32 cents a month less next year for his or her Blue Cross Silver plan when the subsidy is considered. Without the subsidy, the monthly premium would increase by $136.
Blue Cross is the only insurer that will offer ACA plans on the HealthCare.gov exchange in all 100 counties statewide, following decisions by Aetna and UnitedHealthcare to scale back their participation. Cigna is the only other insurer to offer ACA plans in North Carolina next year, but it covers only five Triangle-area counties.
Open enrollment starts Nov. 1.