Average ACA plan premium will rise 7.5 percent in 2016

Premium rates for "benchmark" Affordable Care Act health plans will rise an average of 7.5 percent next year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced

The government defines a benchmark plan as the second-lowest-cost silver plan available on the marketplaces. CMS also says the average increase across 30 of the largest markets, which accounts for 60 percent of ACA plan enrollees, is 6.3 percent. But those rate increases do not take into account advanced payments of premium tax credits, which lower the monthly costs for the overwhelming majority of marketplace consumers, the announcement says.

The highest state plan increase is in Oklahoma, with an average increase of 35.7 percent; Indiana has the lowest with a 12.6 percent decrease in premium cost.

"For most consumers, premium increases for 2016 are in the single digits and they will be able to find plans for less than $100 a month," Kevin Counihan, CEO of the federal marketplace, said in the announcement.

Eight of 10 customers returning to the healthcare marketplace will be able to buy plans with premiums that are less than $100 per month, with seven of those eight less than $75 per month, according to CMS. A survey released last week found that many individuals an only afford "$100 or less" for their highest monthly premium in 2016, FierceHealthPayer reported.

CMS also notes that returning customers who switched plans after price-comparing will save, on average, $400 annually after tax credits compared with those who stayed with their same plans.

To learn more:
- check out the CMS announcement

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