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Kaiser Study Shows O’Care Premiums Rising in 2018, Fewer Choices

A new study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds Obamacare premiums are rising in 2018, consumers have fewer choices, and uncertainty is adding to the disarray.

The Affordable Care Act

Premiums for a popular Obamacare silver plan will rise in 19 of 21 major U.S. cities in 2018, as consumers in 14 of those 21 states have fewer insurers to pick from than they did in 2014.

Those are two takeaways from a study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) on Thursday. The study looks at premiums, number of insurers, and more in 20 states and Washington, D.C., comparing this year’s facts and figures to 2017 and earlier.


KFF found that premiums will increase in 19 of the 21 cities they examined. It will decrease in Providence, Rhode Island (-5%) and decrease $1 per month in Burlington, Vermont.

Increases range from the single-digits (Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and D.C.) to increases in the 20-percent and 30-percent ranges (Nashville, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boise, Seattle, Richmond, Albuquerque) and beyond (Wilmington, Delaware customers will see a 49-percent hike).


Meanwhile, options are dwindling in these 20 states, and Washington, D.C. Eight of the states will have one less insurer than they did in 2017. Overall, 14 of 21 states have at least one less option than they did in 2014.

It’s particularly bad for Delaware, where only one insurer will remain in 2018.


KFF did note that uncertainty with what Republican leadership will do about Obamacare contributes to some of the premium increases.

Most insurer uncertainty concerns the a) individual mandate, and b) the Trump administration’s looming decision on cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments.

KFF’s study found that, on average, the uncertainty around the mandate and/or CSR payments attributed to less than half of this year’s requested premium hikes, though.