Affordable Care Act

What You Need to Know About Health Insurance Price Increases

Published on October 28, 2015


VIDEO: What do Obamacare price increases have in common with a buffet?

Health Insurance Price Increase 2015Are your health insurance rates going up in 2016? Are your subsidies going down? . Changes in monthly premiums are a big concern for many policy holders. In a survey of eHealth shoppers, nearly half (49%) said that an increase in their monthly premiums of only $25 per month would make them want to shop for a new plan. . If you receive subsidies, you know what a big difference they can make in the affordability of your coverage too. Could you afford your current plan without subsidies? . In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • What should you know about health insurance rate increases?
  • What do rate increases mean for your government health insurance subsidies?
  • How can you cope with rate increases and find affordable 2016 coverage?
  • Why should you shop for health insurance with


What should you know about health insurance rate increases?

The good news is that according to information published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, average rate increases aren’t necessarily going to be that bad. But averages can be misleading. . The fact is that rate changes can vary radically from one plan to another. For example, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports premiums for the benchmark silver-level plan in Portland, Oregon are scheduled to increase by almost 23% for 2016! On the other hand, premiums for the benchmark silver plan in nearby Seattle, Washington are anticipated to actually decrease by about 10%. . Rate hikes are typically driven by factors such as the cost of medical care, your age, how often people in your area need medical attention, and what kinds of care they receive. Your personal rates can go up even if you never saw the doctor last year.

What do you rate increases mean for your government health insurance subsidies?

. Did you realize that under Obamacare rules your subsidies can go down or disappear entirely even when your plan’s monthly premiums stay the same, or increase? It’s true. . If you qualify for government subsidies, the dollar value of those subsidies is tied to the so-called “benchmark plan” in your area. The benchmark plan is the second-lowest-cost silver plan available to you. . But the benchmark plan in your area can change from one year to the next – which means that the dollar value of your subsidies can change one year to the next too. . What’s more, depending on the preferences you selected when you previously signed up for subsidies, your subsidies may disappear automatically on January 1 unless you re-apply during open enrollment.

How can you cope with rate increases and find affordable 2016 coverage?

The nationwide open enrollment period for 2016 health plans is scheduled to run from November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016. . Before open enrollment begins, many consumers will be notified of upcoming changes to their monthly premiums. Some of those changes may be scary. So what can you do?

  • Read your mail – Pay attention to any notices you may receive about upcoming changes to your health insurance premiums, but don’t expect your insurance company to advise you of how rate changes may or may not alter your subsidies for 2016.
  • Get personal advice from a licensed agents – For a real boost during the 2016 open enrollment period, make sure to work with a licensed agent like eHealth to see if you will qualify for subsidies and compare plans in your area from multiple insurers. It doesn’t cost anything extra to work through an agent and it can help you find a plan your satisfied with.  The online tools available at may be especially helpful.
  • Comparison shop – Make sure you take advantage of open enrollment by comparing options to see if there’s a better match for your needs and budget. Online marketplaces like eHealth make it easy to compare rates and benefits side by side, and see what your premiums might look like after subsidies are applied, if you’re eligible.
  • Pay attention to drug prices – Some health insurance plans cover prescription drugs that others don’t. If you use prescriptions on a regular basis, make sure that any plan you’re considering covers the drugs you need at a cost you can afford. Licensed agents like those available at eHealth can help you understand how drug coverage might work under different plan options.
  • Pay attention to out-of-pocket risks – The biggest factor that can sour you on a new health plan is unexpectedly high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and other kinds of medical care. A recent eHealth survey showed that only 15% of those who spent more than $2,000 on prescription drugs were still satisfied with their plan.
  • Think about provider access – Make sure that your preferred doctors and hospitals are in-network for any new plan you’re considering, or else look for plans with strong out-of-network coverage.  eHealth’s survey also shows that seeing out-of-network medical providers (which may mean getting reduced coverage and paying more out of pocket) can negatively affect your satisfaction with your plan.

Why should you shop for health insurance at

When you shop for coverage at during the 2016 open enrollment period, you’ll get:

  • Subsidies: In most states, eHealth can help you apply for government subsidies that can significantly lower your monthly premiums. You’ll get the same subsidies you would qualify for through a government website, with a superior customer experience. Subsidies are only available for qualified applicants, primarily based on income.
  • Service: Our website makes shopping for coverage simple, and we have licensed agents available to provide you with personal help and advice when you need it, at no extra cost to you. At eHealth we’ve been selling health insurance online for more than 16 years and we’re rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Selection: eHealth offers a huge selection of quality health insurance plans from brand-name insurance companies nationwide. In most states, eHealth offers health plans available through government exchanges, PLUS other Obamacare health plans that are only available outside government exchanges.

Why shop anywhere else? Subsidies. Service. Selection. eHealth makes Obamacare easy!

We’ll let you know when we publish anything new.