[Ed. – ‘American families will save $2,500 a year on health insurance.’ — Barack Somebody-or-Other]
Floridians who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act will see premium increases averaging about 13.2 percent for 2015, according to data provided to the state Office of Insurance Regulation.
Fourteen companies have filed to participate in the federal health insurance marketplace in Florida next year. Three of those are newcomers and did not participate in the inaugural year of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
Of the 11 returning companies, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 percent to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 percent to 12 percent.
Florida Blue, the state’s largest health insurer, filed for an 18 percent hike.
Steven Hendricks, a spokesman for the Florida Blue in Tampa, said the rate hike reflects the demographics of the insurance pool. He said when healthier consumers kept their existing plans in the Affordable Care Act’s first year, the sickest and most expensive consumers turned to marketplace plans.
But Hendricks said a person’s individual situation — age, family size, whether he or she smokes, where they live — is the key driver of the price of a policy.
The Florida Community Health Action Information Network, or Florida CHAIN, a key advocate for the Obama health care program, said the Office of Insurance Regulation numbers reveal “nothing, except the extent to which the entity responsible for protecting Florida consumers is in a frenzied rush to mislead them as well as to assume their own conclusions.”
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act , including Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature, have repeated that the Obama project would lead to higher insurance rates. The issue is expected to become a key talking point for Republicans in the upcoming election cycle.