Middle-income adults living in the Golden State may see theirhealth insurance premiums rise 30 percent next year because of thePatient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to agovernment report.

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Covered California, the state agency that will implement thelaw, said premium increases are most likely to hit thosemiddle-income Californians who don’t receive health care coveragethrough their employers. On the other hand, lower-income consumerseligible for the law's tax subsidies could pay significantly lessin monthly premiums compared to prior years.

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The figures released last week came shortly after HHS SecretaryKathleen Sebelius conceded that health reform could cause some premiums torise. Just how much reform will impact health care costs hasbeen a major bone of contention between supporters and protestersof the law.

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An analysisby the Milliman consulting firm found lower-income consumerscould save up to 84 percent because of the law’s tax subsidies.Under the law, individuals who make less than $46,000 annually orfamilies who earn less than $94,000 annually will qualify forsubsidies.

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According to the study, the factors increasing premiumsoverall include requirements for richer benefits for individual plans, the increasingnumber of older and less healthy people who will obtain coverage,the new health insurance tax and several other changes mandated byPPACA.

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“All these expansions add to the already increasing cost of care— costs that have outpaced inflation as obesity, chronic conditionsand many other factors have driven up medical expenditures,” saidPatrick Johnston, president and CEO of the California Associationof Health Plans.

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“Lower cost sharing, richer benefits and more predictablecoverage will come at a cost for some,” he said.

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The report estimated that young people under 25 could also facepremium increases that are 25 percent higher than average becauseof the law’s age rating provision.

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Individual premiums in California would have increased 9percent, on average, in 2014 in the absence of health reform,researchers found.

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Johnston also noted that only a small percentage of Californianswill buy their insurance through the exchange.

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