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Affordable Care Act premiums keep going up

Dentist's office in rural Nebraska. Photo: Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Two more states have released proposed rates for the next year of Affordable Care Act coverage and, no surprise, they’re all pretty steep.

The details: Insurers in Washington state’s individual market are seeking a 19% increase, on average, the state said yesterday. Specific insurers’ hikes range from less than 1% up to nearly 30%. In New York, the average proposed increase is 24%.

Key caveats:

  • These are proposed rates — the final increases could be different.
  • We all want to see an average, to get a handle on the overall situation, but mileage will vary considerably from one insurer to the next. The increases they’re seeking for next year depend in part on how much they raised their rates this year (some, for example, had already accounted for the possibility of losing the individual mandate).
  • Consumers’ actual premium costs will depend on their age, where they live, whether they smoke, and whether they get financial help from the government.

Yes, but: The trendline here is real. New York regulators attributed about half the proposed increase in average premiums to the loss of the individual mandate, and insurers have been clear that regulatory moves from the Trump administration are also making them nervous.

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