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Manhattan Institute

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MI Responds: Obamacare Premiums Will Drop for First Time in 2019

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MI Responds: Obamacare Premiums Will Drop for First Time in 2019

October 30, 2018
Health PolicyAffordable Care Act

This open enrollment will be the first time since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's individual market reforms in 2014 that Americans will have a good opportunity to escape inflated premiums on the exchange. Depending on states, so-called "short-term plans" will now be available for up to a year -- allowing those who don't receive health insurance from their employers to afford quality coverage. States should update their insurance regulations to protect individuals enrolled in this market by expanding the maximum duration of insurance coverage so that their residents don't suddenly become locked out of affordable coverage if they become sick after a few months. — Chris Pope, senior fellow

Despite the hysteria surrounding the repeal of the individual mandate, Obamacare is hitting a kind of stride as it begins its sixth year. The biggest sign that things are looking up for Obamacare is that in 2019, average premiums for benchmark silver plans will decrease by 1.5 percent - the first time average premiums have dropped since the exchanges opened in 2014. Insurers are also increasing their participation in Obamacare exchanges, a far cry from the fear of mass insurer exodus pervasive in years past.

While this is good news, Obamacare isn’t out of the woods yet. While recent reforms have gone a long way in relieving the burden of Obamacare, there is still room for improvement. If policymakers remain open to patching Obamacare’s flaws and supporting affordable alternatives, things may look even better when the next open enrollment rolls around. — Tim Rice, deputy director of health policy

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Chris Pope is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

Tim Rice is deputy director for health policy at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images
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