Premiums for mid-level Obamacare health plans sold on thefederal exchanges will see their biggest jump yet next year,another speed bump in the administration’s push for enrollment inthe final months of the U.S. president’s term.

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Related: Policyholder suits hit insurers over premiumincreases

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Monthly premiums for benchmark silver-level plans are going upby an average of 25 percent in the 38 states using the federalHealthCare.gov website, the U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices said in a report today. Last year, premiums for thesecond-lowest-cost silver plans went up by 7.5 percent on averageacross 37 states.

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Individuals signing up for plans this year are facing not onlyrising premiums, but also fewer options to choose from afterseveral big insurers pulled out from some of the markets createdunder the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. While the ACAhas brought uninsured numbers to record lows in the U.S., millionsremain uninsured. To attract more people, the government hasemphasized that subsidies are available for many people to helpcushion the premium increases.

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Protecting consumers

About 77 percent of current enrollees would still be able tofind ACA plans for less than $100 a month, once subsidies are takeninto account, according to the report. Subsidies are calculatedbased on the cost of the second-lowest-premium silver plan in agiven area. Silver plans typically cover about 70 percent of anindividual’s medical expenses, though additional subsidies can helpmake the coverage more generous for lower-income individuals.

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Related: A look at Trump's wild claim about ACApremiums

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“Even in places of high rate increases this year, consumers willbe protected,” Kathryn Martin, assistant secretary for planning andevaluation at the health department, said on a conference call withreporters. Her message to consumers is to check if they areentitled to subsidies and shop for options: “The odds are goodyou’ll find plans more affordable than what the public debate aboutthe ACA might lead you to expect.”

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Changes in the cost of the benchmark silver plans varied widelyamong regions, and the median benchmark premium increase was 16percent. Premiums actually declined about 3 percent in Indiana, to$229 a month. In Arizona, on the other hand, the benchmark premiummore than doubled, from $196 a month to $422, the report shows.

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The data released Monday confirm reports based on stateregulatory filings that have been accumulating for months, showingmuch higher premiums for 2017. ACASignups.net, which tracks thehealth law, had also estimated a 25 percent rise in premiums onaverage, weighted by membership.

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Related: Obama adminstration wants more scrutiny of premiumhikes

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Silver plans are mid-level on Obamacare’s marketplaces, withother plans including bronze, gold and platinum.

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The government data show that some people may be able to findlower-cost plans by switching from their current coverage. The U.S.said that if all people who currently have ACA plans switched intothe cheapest option of the same “metal” level, they could cut theirpremiums by 20 percent. Some people will have to switch becausetheir plan will no longer be offered.

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Copyright 2018 Bloomberg. All rightsreserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,or redistributed.

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