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Florida Obamacare Exchange Hit With Double-Digit Rate Hikes

Obamacare premiums in Florida are growing by 13.2 percent on average, state officials announced Monday.

Eight plans on the Obamacare exchange are boosting their premiums, all by double digits — from 11 percent to 23 percent. Three health plans will cut rates by a lesser five percent to 12 percent. That’s a drastic increase for close to one million Florida Obamacare customers — the second-largest enrollment of any individual state.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation noted that just as premiums are increasing, out-of-pocket costs are adding up as well — and federal subsidies may not take much of the edge off for working families.

“Even with a federal subsidy, that could mean an out-of-pocket cost of $500 or more per month to have coverage that still requires Florida families to pay about 30 percent of expenses out-of-pocket for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance,” the department charged in a press release.

The rate hikes are coming after an even more significant boost last year in rate hikes across the individual and small group insurance markets in general. When Obamacare was implemented in 2014, individual and small group customers suffered a 37 percent rate increase on average, according to the department.

Unlike most other states, Florida regulators turned down the power to dictate to insurers whether their premium rates are acceptable, so the released filings are likely final, but subject to federal review by the Department of Health and Human Services. Other states, such as Connecticut, used their new-found regulatory ability (made possible by Obamacare) to refuse insurers the rate hikes they requested.

Florida’s exchange sign-ups were drastically older than insurers expected. While the Obama administration hoped for 40 percent of nationwide sign-ups to be between the ages of 18 and 34, Florida’s young invincible sign-ups come in at just 23 percent of all exchange enrollees.

The age mix is the primary motivation for some of the rate hikes. The exchange’s largest insurer, Florida Blue, announced its 17.6 percent hike last week and has cited the older-than-expected exchange population. (RELATED: Florida’s Biggest Obamacare Insurer Hiking Premiums Over 17 Percent)

“We will be under tremendous financial pressure initially, given the age, risk profile, and high utilization of the new membership,” said Florida Blue CEO Patrick Geraghty. “It is far from clear that large enrollment in the marketplace is a financially beneficial place to be.”

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