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The Healthcare.gov website is seen on a computer screen Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Washington. If President Donald Trump succeeds in shutting down a major “Obamacare” subsidy, it would have the unintended consequence of making basic health insurance available to more people for free, and making upper-tier plans more affordable. The unexpected assessment comes from consultants, policy experts, and state officials trying to discern the potential fallout from a Washington health care debate that’s becoming harder to follow.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Premiums for Obamacare's most popular plans are expected to rise 34 percent in 2018


In the wake of the Trump administration's recent actions regarding the health care markets, a new analysis found that premiums for the most popular health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act are expected to increase by an average of 34 percent next year.

Consulting firm Avalere Health analyzed data from the Department of Health and Human Services released this week and found the popular silver plans will see the most dramatic increase in prices. Premiums for bronze plans are expected to jump 18 percent on average, and gold and platinum plans are also projected to increase by double-digit percentages.

Only three states are expected to see declines in premium costs: Alaska, Arizona and North Dakota.

The analysis comes after President Trump signed an executive order that critics say will destabilize the Obamacare insurance markets. Days after signing the executive order, Trump also announced his administration would stop making payments for low-cost insurance subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions. Those payments help low-income families afford insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

“Plans are raising premiums in 2018 to account for market uncertainty and the federal government’s failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president at Avalere. “These premium increases may allow insurers to remain in the market and enrollees in all regions to have access to coverage.”

The analysis comes just days before Americans can start enrolling for Obamacare plans. Starting Nov. 1, new customers can submit applications, and returning ones can make changes to their coverage. Open enrollment will end early, on Dec. 15, about half the time allotted under Barack Obama's administration.

Check out more stories from Circa:
Trump is canceling Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies for low-income Americans
Here's what Obamacare enrollees are saying about Trump's executive order
Here are some other health care options on the table right now

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