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ACA premiums could be 16% lower

Premiums for insurance sold through the Affordable Care Act are going down next year, for the first time in the law’s history. But they could be going down even more, if not for some of the Trump administration’s policy choices.

By the numbers: Across all insurance plans that comply with the ACA — whether they’re sold through the exchanges or not — premiums are about 6% higher than they otherwise could have been, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

  • The difference is even starker for middle-of-the-road silver plans — the most popular type of plan sold through the ACA’s exchanges that's also used to determine the size of people’s subsidies. Those could be 16% cheaper, Kaiser says.

How it works: Trump’s decision to cut off the law’s cost-sharing subsidies caused insurers to raise premiums significantly, mostly for those silver plans. Nullifying the individual mandate and opening up access to skimpier short-term plans are also expected to hurt the ACA’s overall mix of sick and healthy people.

  • Those factors all drove premiums higher this year, and will limit the size of premium decreases next year, Kaiser says.
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