GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Fourteen days before the presidential election, an Affordable Care Act bombshell that could be a game changer in this election. Premiums are expected to increase 25-percent next year. That cost is going to passed on to customers here in North Carolina.
The premium spikes are going to affect customers who buy their insurance through healthcare.gov and likely every taxpayer. The premiums are increasing but so are the subsidies available. Subsidies are funded by the federal government, more specifically, taxpayers.
"It's more federal government spending whether it's paid for by an increase in taxes or an increase in deficit, either way we're all paying in some sense," said Steve DeLoach, economics professor, Elon University.
The premiums are set by the insurance companies and DeLoach says the prices are increasing for a few reasons. Rates over the past few years didn't increase as much as expected. It's also standard for insurance rates to increase year over year but 20-percent is unusual. Another reason? Not as many young people as expected are signing up for the ACA.
"When anything is new, it's difficult for them to forecast exactly who is going to sign up so it's hard for them to predict the risks," said DeLoach.
For example, a family of 4 making $50,000 a year will have an annual premium increase of $5,000 but a subsidy increase of $5,000. That means their change from last year is only about $5.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company in the exchange in North Carolina this year and it says its customers won't see that much of an increase. That's because while premiums are going up so are the tax credits available.
Open enrollment starts November first and ends January 31st. Window shopping is available now.
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