The Latest: Silver plan premiums up average of 34 percent

The Latest on the upcoming start of the 2018 sign-up season for the Affordable Care Act (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

An analysis of newly released government data finds that premiums for the most popular health plans under the Affordable Care Act are going up by an average 34 percent next year.

The independent analysis by the consulting firm Avalere Health finds that the Trump administration’s actions are contributing to the price hikes, adding instability to the underlying problems of the health law’s marketplaces.

The 34 percent average increase is for silver plans. Premiums are also going up by double digits for bronze, gold, and platinum plans, which have different levels of coverage.

Avalere’s findings come as the Trump administration announced the start of online “window shopping” for plans and premiums next year.

Experts at Avalere crunched the numbers on a massive computer file of plans and premiums released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

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11:35 a.m.

Congressional budget analysts say a bipartisan health care bill would save the government money and it isn’t likely to have much impact — either way — on the number of people with coverage.

Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office issued its analysis of legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington. The bill’s main goal is to stabilize insurance markets by restoring payments to insurers for copays and deductibles abruptly terminated by President Donald Trump.

It also would allow for broader availability of low-premium plans.

The CBO analysis found that the bill would reduce government deficits by $3.8 billion from 2018-2027, and would “not substantially change” the number of people with coverage.

Earlier Republican efforts to repeal “Obamacare” would have made millions uninsured.

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11 a.m.

The Trump administration says consumers can start previewing plans and premiums online Wednesday for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in 2018. Open enrollment starts Nov. 1.

Although President Donald Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the program, officials at the federal Health and Human Services department say the goal is for consumers to have a smooth sign-up experience.

About 10 million people currently have private coverage through government-sponsored markets like HealthCare.gov. More than 8 in 10 customers receive tax credits to help pay their premiums, and that aid is still available despite the political turmoil over “Obamacare.”

The administration says it has taken several steps to make the sign-up experience easier for consumers.

But they’ll have less time this year. Open enrollment ends on Dec. 15.

Source.