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Colorado ACA exchange bills may shock 2017 tax credit users

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Typical Colorado residents who qualify for Affordable Care Act premium subsidies may pay an average of 11 percent less for exchange plan coverage in 2017 than they are paying this year.

Agree Bly, an actuary at Tampa, Florida-based Wakely Consulting Group, made that prediction in a report included in a recent Connect for Health Colorado board meeting packet.

Connect for Health Colorado is Colorado’s state-based ACA exchange.

That exchange, like other ACA exchanges, is set to start the open enrollment period for individual coverage Nov. 1.

Related: 5 state-based exchange steps toward 2017

Some carriers have pulled out of the Colorado exchange, and the remaining carriers are increasing their premiums, according to Bly’s analysis.

The full cost of Colorado exchange plan coverage is on track to rise an average of about 24 percent in 2017, and the average number of plans available to any given exchange user will fall to 48, from 77 this year, Bly predicts.

“For any given county, the number of plan offerings is decreasing by between 15 and 38 plans,” according to the analysis. “No platinum plans are offered by any carrier on the exchange.

Plan withdrawals could force 49,681 current exchange plan users, or about 32 percent of all Colorado exchange plan users, to change plans in 2017, Bly says.

But the ACA premium tax credit subsidy, which helps Colorado consumers with household income from 100 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level pay their coverage premiums, is designed in such a way that it will increase to an average of $126 per member per month, from an average of $110 this year, Bly says.

As a result, Bly says, the net amount of premiums average subsidized consumers actually pay could decrease an average of 11 percent for the consumers who stay in the same plans.

Average net premiums could rise 4 percent for the subsidized consumers with gold coverage, but net premiums could fall 5 percent for people with silver coverage, and they could fall 22 percent for people with bronze coverage.


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