Whatever Happened to Obamacare ‘Sticker Shock?’

L.A. Times: “The depiction of the Affordable Care Act as a driver of huge increases in health insurance rates refuses to die, even though the record thus far shows that premium rate increases have shrunk since open enrollment for individual plans began in 2014.”

“The drumbeat is sounding again, based on early and incomplete filings by insurers. The drum majors typically are conservative news sources anxious to show that sticker shock hasn’t been eliminated, just deferred. But numerous general news agencies fomented the panic as well.”

“A new data point arrived Thursday from the healthcare consultancy Avalere Health, which found that rate requests for 2016 in seven states and the District of Columbia are about 5.8% higher than 2015.”

“It continues the pattern of post-ACA increases moderating from those in the individual market before the 2010 law kicked in: As the Commonwealth Fund reported in 2014, premiums in the individual market rose an average of 9.9% in 2008, 10.8% in 2009 and 11.7% in 2010.”

“Perhaps most important, the raw numbers don’t reflect patterns of plan-switching, which for 2016 are as yet unknowable. This is the degree to which 2015 enrollees will choose a different plan for 2016, often for a lower price.”

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