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Analyzing Obamacare's double-digit premium hikes; plus Covered California update

by AirTalk®

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Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama's health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday.

Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a mid-level benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less. Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will only have plans from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles. 

"Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period," said Larry Levitt, who tracks the health care law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

What would it take to encourage more competition? Where will subsidy money come from? Are these hikes growing pains, or a bad sign of things to come? AirTalk will also look at what is and isn’t working for Covered California. Plus, what you can expect from the coming open enrollment period.

With files from the Associated Press.


Sarah Lueck, Senior Policy Analyst specializing in health care at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Edmund Haislmaier, Health Policy Expert who consults with lawmakers, The Heritage Foundation - a conservative think tank

Emily Bazar, Senior Correspondent for California Healthline at Kaiser Health News; writes the “Ask Emily” column, which addresses readers’ concerns about the Affordable Care Act and more

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