Arkansans will see a 4.3% increase for lower-cost silver plans on the state’s Health Insurance Marketplace, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday.
That’s below the average increase of 7.5% for the 37 states where consumers utilize the healthcare.gov website. Oklahomans will take the hardest hit with a 35.7% increase. Four states will see decreases, with Indiana’s the largest at 12.6%.
At the end of 2015, more than 8.8 million Americans were purchasing insurance through the marketplace, an online exchange for individuals. In Arkansas, that number was 65,684. About 70% of marketplace consumers are enrolled in silver plans.
According to an HHS press release, the increases do not include tax credits that benefit about 80% of marketplace consumers, with an average assistance of $270 per month. Because of the tax credit, eight in 10 returning consumers can purchase a premium for less than $100 a month, and seven in 10 can purchase a premium for less than $75 a month. Two-thirds of counties will have three or more insurers.
Arkansas is considering whether or not to move to a state-based exchange for individual consumers and will open one for small businesses starting Nov. 1. The Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace is studying the feasibility of the change. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has questioned the need for a state-based exchange for individuals and asked AHIM to pause its efforts pending the recommendations by the Health Reform Legislative Task Force, a group of legislators who will produce a report by the end of the year.
Open enrollment for next year begins Nov. 1 and continues through Jan. 31. To have coverage beginning Jan. 1, consumers must sign up by Dec. 15.