AP analysis: Insurance premiums increase up to 20 percent in Florida under federal health care

Associated Press

The average monthly premiums for mid-range health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act increased as much as 20 percent in some parts of Florida, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Some rural counties, particularly in agricultural areas west of Lake Okeechobee, and counties where senior citizens make up a significant portion of the population saw the biggest increases in average premium costs for "silver" plans from 2014 to 2015.

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South Florida saw only meager increases for average premiums for the midlevel plans, and premiums decreased ever so slightly in Miami-Dade County, the only Florida county paying less.

Just under half of all Florida counties saw average premium increases in the 10 to 15 percent range.

The analysis looked at the average premium costs in each county for a single 27-year-old resident, a single 50-year-old resident and a 40-year-old couple with two children. Open enrollment for 2015 plans started Saturday and runs through mid-February.

The costs don't include subsidies. Individuals making less than roughly $46,000 a year and a four-person family with an income of less than $94,000 a year will qualify for subsidies to offset costs.

Monroe County, home to the Florida Keys, had the highest average premiums for "silver plans" for all three groups of policyholders, as it did last year. In 2015, a 27-year-old individual in Monroe County will pay almost $370 a month for coverage in the "silver" plan without subsidies, while a 40-year-old couple with two children will pay almost $1,350 a month.

Gulf County in the Panhandle had the lowest average premiums for all three groups of policy holders.

Nearly 1 million Floridians signed up for health plans in the inaugural year of the law and 91 percent received a subsidy to help pay their monthly premiums.

When looking at year-to-year premium prices for the "benchmark" plans in each county, there was wider variation in the premium changes. The "benchmark" plans are the second-lowest cost "silver" plans in a county. Consumers get a tax credit for health insurance based on income and on the premium for the "benchmark" plan in their area.

Roughly 1 out of 5 Florida counties had drops ranging from 1 to 21 percent in their benchmark premiums for a 27-year-old individual. Four-fifths of Florida's counties saw increases in the premiums of the benchmark plans for a 27-year-old individual. Half of Florida's counties had increases of more than 10 percent.

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A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that roughly 1 out of 5 Florida counties had drops ranging from 1 to 24 percent in their benchmark premiums for a 27-year-old individual.