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Obamacare Shoppers May See Insurance Premiums Rise as Much as 20 Percent

"...actual changes and premium prices vary significantly across states..."

People shopping for health insurance under Obamacare starting this weekend can expect insurance premiums to be an average of 5.6 percent higher than last year, although that average reflects changes to premiums that will fall in some cases, and rise as much as 20 percent in others, according to a private estimate.

In one state, Colorado, premiums are expected to jump 35 percent for some plans, according to an analysis by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Click the image for a closer look at what may happen in your state:

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The Obama administration has so far not released information about premium hikes for the 2015 enrollment year. Officials decided to withhold that information until late this week, after the midterm elections and just before people can begin the enrollment process for 2015.

But according to PwC's Health Research Institute, insurance premiums will rise in most states, and even when the average increase is in the single digits, that average reflects double-digit increases for some plans.

"Though average rate increases hover in the single-digit range, actual changes and premium prices vary significantly across states," PwC said. "In states with approved rates, average rates range from a 22 percent decrease to a 35 percent increase (in Colorado)."

While Colorado will likely see the highest increase, some premiums will fall in that state, and the average increase there is just 2 percent.

Other states that will see some increases of 20 percent or more for some plans are Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania. But the average increase for most of these states is between 5 and 10 percent.

PwC said seven states and Washington DC have announced final premium rates, and the average premium increase among these states is 3.5 percent.

The company said the average increase in insurance premiums for all states is 5.6 percent. States with the biggest average increases are Kansas and Louisiana — Kansas is expected to see premiums jump an average of 15.5 percent, and Louisiana will see an average hike of 15.2 percent.

Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia are all expected to see increases between 10 and 15 percent.

The increases take place in the backdrop of a slowing rate of growth for health care costs, something that many Democrats have credited to the passage of Obamacare in 2010. But others have said health care costs have been rising more slowly for the last decade, a sign that other factors are in play besides the law.

Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services said it only expects about 2 million more people to sign up for an Obamacare plan in 2015. That would put the total at 9.1 million enrolled people, which is about 4 million less than what the Congressional Budget Office estimated for 2015.

One last thing…
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