The rates for Obamacare’s cheapest bronze plans are set to increase when the 2015 exchange enrollment opens in November. According to Investor’s Business Daily, the average cost of bronze plans will jump 13.9% for 40-year-old non-smokers earning 225% of the poverty level ($26,260).
But, that’s nothing compared to the cost increase Seattle residents can expect. After subsidies, the cost of the cheapest bronze plans will increase by a whopping 64%, from $60 to $98 per month, for those at the same income level. Seattle’s 64% mark-up is by far the highest in the nation—the second highest being Providence, Rhode Island at 38%.
The negative side-effects of the rate surge go well beyond the price increase itself. Due to the price increase, young adults are more likely to opt out of Obamacare and enroll in a catastrophic plan instead (available to those under 30 years old). Since catastrophic plans are grouped separately, the main risk pool for Obamacare exchange plans will become “relatively older and more costly.”