The dust has settled on the 2018 enrollment year for the Affordable Care Act, and as predicted, while premiums increased thanks to sabotage from the popular vote loser the actual cost of premiums paid by consumers decreased. That’s because of the federal subsidy structure built into the law, and how insurance companies set premium rates to maximize them.
After federal aid, the average monthly premium paid by subsidized customers on HealthCare.gov is dropping to $89 from last year’s $106. That’s a 16 percent savings even though the “list price” premium went up about 30 percent, now averaging $639 for those subsidized customers.
Roughly 80 percent of the Obamacare market receives these subsidies, and therefore saved money this year. Additionally, the ACA marketplaces had stabilized for 2017 and this year. But this doesn’t mean that the public, and particularly people getting their insurance in the individual market, believe that all is well with their coverage or have hope that they’ll continue to be able to get it.
In their March Health Tracking Poll, Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly “half the public overall believes the ACA marketplaces are ‘collapsing,’ including six in ten of those with coverage purchased through these marketplaces.” Furthermore, majorities of the population that gets non-group coverage either on their own or through the Obamacare marketplace are worried that they won’t have access to insurance in the future. “Half of non-group enrollees (51 percent) and six in ten marketplace enrollees (58 percent) say they are ‘very worried’ or ‘somewhat worried’ there will be no insurance companies left selling plans in their area in the future, similar to the share who say they worry that their own current insurance company will stop selling plans in their area (49 percent and 58 percent, respectively).”
An even bigger worry for them is whether they’ll be able to continue to afford insurance. “Eight in ten marketplace enrollees and three-fourths of non-group enrollees report being either ‘very worried’ or ‘somewhat worried’ about their out-of-pocket costs increasing so high that either will not be able to get the health care they need or afford the health insurance plan they have now.”