Friday Mar 29, 201304:50 PM GMT
Study: Obama health law will hike some California premiums 30%
Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:48PM
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U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addresses the first session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina September 4, 2012.


Premiums on California's individual health insurance market will rise an average of 30 percent as a result of President Obama's healthcare law, a new study predicts.

 

The state agency that will implement the law, Covered California, said premium increases are most likely to hit middle-income people who do not receive healthcare coverage through their employers.

 

The figures released Thursday come the same week Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceded that healthcare reform could cause some premiums to rise. The remark quickly drew fire from Republicans, who say the law will be disruptive and expensive for the government and consumers.

 

Under the law, individuals who make more than $46,000 annually or families who make more than $94,000 annually will not qualify for subsidies.

 

People making less than those thresholds will, however, and the tax credits will provide them with some relief if rates on the individual and the small-group market rise.

 

The study said those consumers could save as much as 84 percent on their insurance policies because of the law's tax subsidies.

 

Higher costs, meanwhile, will hit about 1.3 million people who purchase coverage directly from insurance companies, Covered California predicted. The Hill

HIGHLIGHTS

The study, issued Thursday in the midst of a growing national debate over the impact of the law, is significant because California is far ahead of most states in setting up a competitive marketplace, or exchange, where people can buy insurance this fall. New York Times

 

Nearly 600,000 Californians who buy health insurance on the individual market will likely see their premium costs plummet dramatically next year when the state unveils its new insurance marketplace, while more than 1 million wealthier residents could see double-digit increases. For the first time, state health leaders on Thursday outlined how consumers will be affected by one of the main features of President Barack Obama's national health reform law: the online insurance exchange, known as Covered California, which will open in October. San Jose Mercury News

 

Obamacare limits how much insurers can charge older people. But while the changes are expected to lower costs for women, older beneficiaries and the sick, men and younger, healthier people will likely see higher rates as insurers try to hedge against continued risks. Reuters

 

Obama's healthcare restructuring, the signature domestic policy achievement of his first term, is expected to provide coverage to more than 30 million people beginning on January 1, 2014, both through the state exchanges and a planned expansion of the government-run Medicaid program for the poor. Reuters

AN/AGB

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