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Think tank projects Idaho’s insurance premiums will jump 30 percent

Think tank projects Idaho’s insurance premiums will jump 30 percent

Dustin Hurst
November 16, 2013
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November 16, 2013

With implementation of Obamacare gaining steam each passing day, Idahoans looking to purchase new, federally approved insurance plans should prepare to pay more because of the law’s effects.

According to research produced by the Manhattan Institute, a New York-based free market think tank, insurance premiums will rise by about 41 percent under the law, originally signed in 2010.

Idaho comes off somewhat luckier than many states, though. According to Manhattan’s projections, Idahoans’ premiums will rise 30 percent. State residents in nearly every demographic will have to open their wallets a little wider to pay for insurance. A man, age 27, for example, could see his rate jump as much as 79 percent.

Obamacare drops rates for older women. A 40-year-old Idaho woman, Manhattan said in its study, could see her premium drop 2 percent thanks to Obamacare changes.

In all, residents in 41 states will see higher premiums due to Obamacare. Nevada checks in with the highest spike, with rates there jumping an astounding 179 percent. New Mexico comes in second, with a 130 percent hike.

New York scores as the big winner in health reform. That state will see premium prices drop by 40 percent, Manhattan predicts.

Other researches produce different results. The conservative Heritage Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., predicts that rates for a 27-year-old adult—no gender specified—could raise as much as 86 percent.

Critics of the Manhattan study would likely point out that one critical piece of the law is the generous subsidies handed out by the federal government, payments intended to offset price hikes for millions of Americans. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare will dole out at least $350 billion between 2010 and 2019.

Yet, those subsidies have a cost, too. “Those subsidies aren’t free—they’re paid for by taxpayers–and so it is irresponsible for people to argue that subsidies somehow make irrelevant the underlying cost of health insurance,” wrote Forbes contributor Avik Roy earlier this month.

According to the Heritage Foundation, Obamacare raises taxes by $836 billion between 2013 and 2022. To fund the subsidies and the Medicaid expansion also included in the law, Obamacare introduces or raises taxes in 18 different areas, including medical devices, capital gains and so-called “Cadillac” health plans.

Even with the subsidies to offset rate hikes, available to Americans making up to 400 percent of federal poverty level, some insurance plans will still cost more than before the reform law kicked in. In a Nov. 14 letter to state insurance commissioners, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight director Gary Cohen admitted that the subsidies won’t be enough to cover increases.

“Although affected individuals and small businesses may access quality health insurance coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces,” Cohen wrote, “in many cases with federal subsidies, some of them are finding that such coverage would be more expensive than their current coverage, and thus they may [be] dissuaded from immediately transitioning to such coverage,” Cohen wrote, according to the Daily Mail.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 17 million Americans are eligible for federal subsidies, including 130,000 Idahoans.

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