Health reform subsidies cut premiums by 76%


Individuals who purchased coverage under the Affordable Care Act this year pay $80 a month in average premiums, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The report notes that most people found an affordable plan from a variety of options and that insurer competition will drive down premium costs for the next enrollment period.

The HHS report looked at the 36 states using federal government exchanges and found taxpayers subsidize 76 percent of the average monthly premium. The findings also indicate that those who purchased silver plans using tax credits paid an average of $69 a month, while 46 percent of the total enrollees paid $50 a month.

Customers visiting the marketplaces could choose from a wide range of plans. On average, individuals can choose from five insurers and 47 marketplace plans across the metal categories. Additionally, 82 percent of people live in areas with three to 11 issuers, while 96 percent live in areas with two to 11 issuers.

The report also looked at individual states, finding enrollees in Mississippi paid the least--$23 a month on average premiums of $438, after tax credits. Those in New Jersey paid the most--$148 on average premiums of $465, after tax credits. Average premiums in Wyoming came in at $113 after tax credits and $84 in Utah.

A senior health official said differences in hospital industries led to the price variation among states, according to the Washington Post.

However, it is still unclear how many people have paid their premiums thus far. Last month, the House Committee released a report stating 67 percent of enrollees paid their premiums as of April 15. However the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services claimed 80 percent to 90 percent had paid.

The HHS report does not include the total number of dollars the government is spending on tax credits this year.

For more:
- here's the report (.pdf)
- read the Washington Post article

Related Articles:
Insurer competition drives down premiums
More insurers want in on health exchanges
Mystery remains over how many enrollees paid their premiums
What it takes to create exchange competition, lower prices