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Obamacare, Year One: 78 Percent Premium Hikes

In its first year, Obamacare hiked health insurance premiums by up to 78 percent, according to a new analysis comparing insurance costs before and after Obamacare.

HealthPocket, a nonpartisan health insurance research company, analyzed government data on individual health insurance premiums in the 2013 market before Obamacare reforms and 2014’s Obamacare exchanges, and the results are in: Average premiums are higher for all ages– far above the norm for annual increases.

Young customers have been hurt the worst by ObamacareРa big potential problem for the Obama administration, which failed to attract enough young and healthy customers during the first round of exchange enrollment. But people just several years away from Medicare have been hit with double-digit hikes as well. The average, non-weighted premiums across three different age groups are higher by over 20 percent for both men and women.

The hardest hit are 23-year-old men, who are being charged 78 percent more this year than they were in 2013; 23-year-old women pay a paltry 45 percent more in 2014 than they did before Obamacare. The picture isn’t much rosier for 30-year-olds, though: The average premium rose 73 percent for men, and 35 percent for women.

Men are seeing their premiums skyrocket because Obamacare bans insurers from charging women more — even when they use more health care services. The health-care law also requires insurers to cover a boatload of services in every plan, whether customers want it or not. Included in that 78 percent-higher premium for 23 year-old men: maternity and newborn coverage– just in case.

Of course, seniors are paying for those services as well. For the 63-year-old age group, just two years away from Medicare eligibility, men were dealt a 22.7 percent increase, while women’s premiums are 37.5 percent higher.

Obamacare’s more popular provisions are causing the rate hikes as well. Because insurers are required to accept customers with pre-existing conditions, insurers are incurring additional costs from chronically ill patients.

The study doesn’t include subsidy payments, which the Obama administration often points to when discussing Obamacare premium hikes. The taxpayer-provided subsidies cover some of the price hikes for customers between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

With high double-digit hikes, however, the prices are still likely to hit home for many people, including taxpayers. Middle-class earners are likely feeling Obamacare cost increases twice-over: once in their own health insurance costs, and once again in their tax bill.

The largest price hikes likely came over the past year, when Obamacare’s biggest reforms took place– and customers may see another surge in 2017, according to experts, when an Obamacare provision cutting down on risk for insurers will end. And insurance prices are likely increasing in 2015 as well. The administration will be releasing data on 2015 premiums in November– just after next week’s midterm elections.

During his 2008 campaign, Obama made a promise for a $2,500 cut in annual health care costs for the average family, and while that’s long out the window, he’s continued to tout supposed Obamacare savings. As recently as Oct. 2, he told an audience at Northwestern University that premium hikes have slowed.

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