Many Obamacare customers may need to switch plans to avoid ‘substantial’ hikes: study

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A new analysis finds Obamacare customers who received government subsidies to reduce the cost of health coverage will face “substantial” premium increases unless they switch plans in 2015.

Avalere Health, a Washington-based consultancy, studied fluctuations in the cost of the second-lowest cost silver plan in given regions — the benchmark by which federal premium assistance is measured.

Subsidized enrollees on the new health exchanges may select a more expensive plan, but must pay for the difference between the benchmark and their selection.

In six of nine states studied by Avalere, the 2014 benchmark silver plan will lose its status in 2015. In seven of the nine states, the lowest cost silver plan will also change in 2015.

“Most enrollees in 2014 chose a plan based on the monthly premium. However, the lowest cost plans in 2014 may no longer be low cost in 2015,” said Elizabeth Carpenter, a director at Avalere Health. “Before consumers renew their 2014 plan, they should consider the tradeoff between continuity of care and lower monthly premiums.”

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