Some Affordable Care Act rates up 40 to 50 percent in Illinois

Some Affordable Care Act rates up 40 to 50 percent in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN — Signing up for coverage when Obamacare open enrollment begins Nov. 1? Prepare for a bit of sticker shock.

In all areas of Illinois, rate increases will average in the 40 to 50 percent range for some plans, with a 44 percent average rise in the second-lowest-cost silver plans typically used as a benchmark, according to new figures released Friday by the state Department of Insurance.

Enrollees who are hoping to drop down a level for lower prices won't necessarily see lower increases, either.

The lowest bronze plans, always at the bottom of the government marketplace's premium price range, are also up an average of 44 percent in Illinois. The lowest silver plans are seeing an increase in the same range, up statewide an average of 45 percent, according to the Department of Insurance.

A 21-year-old nonsmoker signing up for a second-lowest-cost silver plan with Health Alliance Medical Plans in many counties of East Central Illinois — among them Champaign, Vermilion, Coles, Ford, Edgar, Douglas, Piatt and Iroquois — can expect to pay a 36 percent increase in monthly premium, from about $229 to $312, according to the state.

That figure includes just the premium. Some people enrolling in marketplace health plans are income-eligible for subsidies that reduce the amount they pay for their coverage.

Health Alliance is one of two insurance issuers that will be selling both individual and small group plans on the government exchange in most East Central Illinois, with the other choice being Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. DeWitt County will have those choices, plus Humana.

Specific plan and rate information is still unavailable, with the state releasing just a sampling by rating area in its analysis Friday.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers Executive Director Claudia Lennhoff said she believes people have been hearing about expected double-digit increases in health insurance coming up next year and won't be too stunned at what they find on the government exchange.

"What we're telling people is not to panic when they see those rate increases," she said. "What they need to see is what the rate increase will be when we see if they qualify for the premium tax credits."

The refundable premium tax credit helps people with lower-to-moderate incomes pay for insurance on the government health exchange by knocking down the price of the premiums. People who qualified last year will likely qualify this year, too, unless they've had a change of job or other circumstances that changed their income, Lennhoff said.

"I feel like this issue has multiple factors that end up affecting what the person is going to pay and the increase in the insurance premium is just one factor," she said.

Health Care Consumers, which has an office in downtown Champaign, has application counselors who will be available to help with enrollment, Lennhoff said. She advised calling for an appointment, and said counselors will advise about what paperwork to bring along.

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2017, and people who enroll between the Nov. 1 launch and Dec. 15 can start their health coverage by Jan. 1 next year.


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787 wrote on October 15, 2016 at 8:10 am

Thanks to the Democrat party for all of the lies.  Lies from your leader, Obama.

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

$2500 less for a family of four.

Not a single Republican voted for this rubbish.  Not a one.

Disasters like this, and yet, they still want more... more from a disaster like Hillary.

capt80 wrote on October 15, 2016 at 10:10 am

Well said. I will assume you also know this was the plan all along??

Just waiting for the Universal Health Care Act from hillary.


Bob from Champaign wrote on October 15, 2016 at 12:10 pm

What a joke.  'Refundable premium tax credit". Cute euphemism for welfare.  Personal responsibility has fallen sloppy dead.

uncommon_name wrote on October 15, 2016 at 5:10 pm

I'm real fortunate because, at least for the time being, I still have employer provided health coverage. I haven't had to shop the obamacare marketplace. I noticed this article made absolutely no mention of the deductibles on top of these premium increases.

That's where the real sticker shock comes in when you realize you also have to pay thousands out of pocket before even using the insurance that you are paying 50% more for.

townie1 wrote on October 17, 2016 at 9:10 am

The ACA did a lot of good things. Letting dependents stay on parents coverage until they are 26. Being able to get health insurance without worry about a pre-existing condition causing you to be denied or given rates you can't afford. Not having a dollar limit on your coverage, so if you end up with cancer, you don't have to worry about your treatment stopping once you reach a certain limit. Now, there are a lot of ways this program can be improved on. Why not let small businesses join together to get better rates. Or let people join together with people from other states to get better rates. Instead of trying to work together to make the program better, the republicans decided to waste millions of our tax dollars trying to repeal the whole thing. Stop blaming the president, there is plenty of blame to go around if this isn't affordable. Let's all start working to fix the things that need fixing.

Anonymous71 wrote on October 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Where are the liberals? Right here. First of all, Republicans could have passed health care reform during the Bush years, and they chose not to do anything. They had their chance, and squandered it. Obama ran on a platform of passing health care reform and he was voted into office to pass that reform. He won the election and he won the health care debate. Republicans could have contributed to shaping the health care reform law, but chose to cry in the corner instead.  If they had good ideas, or any ideas, that was their chance to show how they could govern.  

You are blaming Obama for increased premiums, and that blame is misdirected. Blame the insurance companies for rising rates. Why? Because the insurance companies made billions of dollars by insuring people who did not need insurance and refusing to insure those who needed it the most for decades. Obamacare enabled those who needed medical care to get insurance. It is the pig moving through the snake. So yes, prices are going up because insurance companies are now required to cover people who actually need care. Second, your assumption is that rates would not have increased if Obamacare had not been passed. That is a totally false and ignorant assumption. Rates were skyrocketing BEFORE Obamacare. Before Obamacare, in 2008, I was paying $1800 per month through the state of Illinois for healthcare for two people. I typed it correctly - $1800 per month, which was $21,600 per year. My point is that health care coverage was already outrageous before Obamacare. Now, my employer-sponsored health care plan doubled in 2014 to about $375 per month, with larger co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. So frankly, the plans on the exchanges seem pretty good. So yes, there is going to be short term pain to make up for all of the years that congress kicked the can down the road. In the long-term, Obamacare will improve as more people enter the insurance pool and receive the care they need. Trump says that he will repeal and replace obamacare. Great, replace it with what? Trump has never described a single proposal about health care reform and he has absolutely no idea what he is doing. If you dislike health care now, Trump will only make it worse, while Clinton at least has the knowledge and experience to improve national health care. I'm voting for Clinton.