CONTRIBUTED

Higher costs but more options ahead for Ohio ACA insurance

The price of health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange is predicted to rise next year, though some Ohioans will have more options to chose from.

The average premium in Ohio for individual plans will increase 8.2 percent, according to early cost estimates released last week by the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Open enrollment for coverage next year begins Nov. 1. and runs through Dec. 15.

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In 2018, the weighted average premium for an individual plan was $5,798.83. For 2019, companies are proposing to sell products an an average $6,274.08 premium, up 8.2 percent.

While consumers will feel the increase, it’s less sharp than last year when premiums rose an average of 34 percent. About 11 percent of the increase was because the Ohio Department of Insurance required insurance companies to assume they would lose federal subsidies that help lower costs.

The state said two more companies are preparing to enter the exchange. This will give more options for some of of those shopping for insurance, including in Miami County which should go from having just one option to two options according to the preliminary plan.

The Ohio Department of Insurance cautioned that all of the information is subject to change until final plans are approved later this year.

The state isn’t providing specific information until the insurance carriers have been approved to sell insurance.

The aggregate data that was released shows in 2018, eight companies sold health insurance products on the exchange in Ohio and 42 counties had just one insurer with an additional 20 counties having only two.

But for next year, 10 companies have filed rates and forms for the department to review and all 88 counties will have at least one insurer. Preliminary filings show 16 counties with just one insurer and 33 counties with two.

A map of proposed coverage shows Butler County residents will have five insurance companies to choose from. Montgomery, Greene, Clark and Warren counties will have four to choose from, Champaign and Preble counties will have three, and Miami and Darke Counties will have two.

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