Monthly premiums for health insurance soared in 2014, the first year of Obamacare’s full implementation, according to a new study.
The report by HealthPocket.com — a site that allows consumers to compare health plans — compared rates from 2013 and 2014. “The analysis of pre- and post-Obamacare health insurance in the individually purchased health insurance market demonstrates a clear increase of average premiums across age groups and both sexes,” researchers found. “While the degree of increase varied by age and sex, the occurrence of an increase did not.”
Average premium increases ranged from a low of 22.7 percent among 63-year-old men to a high of 78.2 percent among 23-year-old men. Among women, the range was 35.1 percent for 30-year-olds to 44.9 percent among 23-year-olds.
In dollar terms, monthly premiums went up from $143 to $258 for 23-year-old men; from $603 to $741 among 63-year-old men; from $178 to $258 among 23-year-old women; and from $539 to $741 among 63-year-old women. On an annual basis, the increase for 63-year-old women translates to $2,424.
These figures represent the average sticker price of Obamacare premiums for nonsmokers, and thus do not include the subsidies to purchase health insurance that would reduce the out-of-pocket cost to lower-income individuals.
The study also found a wide variation in premiums by state. For instance, the average monthly premium for 63-year olds in Vermont ($433) was lower than the monthly premiums for 23-year-olds in New York ($460). In Virginia, the average premium for 63-year-olds was $1,101 a month — a number that was driven up because of health plans in the state that covered gastric bypasses and bariatric surgery.
“There are several factors that have contributed to higher premium costs in 2014,” the report explained. “With the new prohibition on application rejection due to health, insurance plans in the individual market expanded its number of enrollees with expensive medical conditions. Additionally, the average health plan benefit package also expanded.”