Monthly premiums for the second year of Obamacare health insurance plans are expected to rise an average of 13 percent, Florida officials announced Monday.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has completed its analysis of recently submitted health insurance plans from 19 companies in Florida, and also estimated the 2015 federal subsidies that such families could expect.
After those subsidies are applied, the monthly cost will range between $400 and 600 per family in most counties, according to the state analysis.
"Even with a federal subsidy, that could mean an out-of-pocket cost of $500 or more per month to have coverage," the Florida office stated in a news release issued Monday.
Proponents of the Affordable Care Act quickly attacked the analysis, arguing that the state used unlikely scenarios to develop its averages.
Florida CHAIN, a not-for-profit health information network, noted that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported this spring that the average Florida family actually paid average premiums of only $68 a month this year, while Florida's insurance office used an average above $300 in its analysis.
"OIR's hypothetical scenarios not only fail to shed meaningful light on what is happening with rates overall, they likely don't apply to more than a handful of real-life consumers," Florida Chain stated.
The actual cost of health insurance plans varies depending on the insurance company; the level of the plans (which are categorized as "bronze," "silver," "gold" or "platinum, depending on quality); the size of the family; and the county.
In the scenarios offered Monday by the state, in Orange County the average 2015 pre-tax subsidy monthly premium for a silver plan for a family of four earning $51,000 was proposed at $1,020, a 7.3 percent increase over this year. In Seminole County it was proposed at $1,055, a 10.7 percent increase. In Osceola, it was proposed at $1,031, a 7.4 percent increase. In Lake, it was proposed at $955, a 4.3 percent increase.
More insurance companies bid for Florida business this time than last year. Fourteen companies filed for the 2015 individual market exchange, including three new companies. Of the 11 returning plans, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 percent to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 percent to 12 percent. In addition, five companies filed proposed health care plans that would not be sold on the open marketplace.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services still must review the proposed plans and rates, and they are subject to change.
"As we saw last year all across the country … final rates were often lower than initially proposed," said department spokeswoman Tasha Bradley. "We are very pleased to see that the number of issuers planning to offer marketplace plans in Florida has increased."
In announcing the results of its review, the Florida insurance office noted it does not have authority to review, approve or reject the proposed rates.
However, last week U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., addressed that in advance when he criticized Florida for giving up that authority, through an act of the Florida Legislature.
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