What it takes to lower Obamacare premiums


The monthly health premium is a source of consternation for consumers, who for years have watched insurance prices grow faster than inflation. It's an especially big concern in the Obamacare marketplaces, where many low-income people without access to employer-sponsored coverage are buying subsidized plans.

Obamacare premiums grew faster this year than many had hoped, raising questions among policy experts and lawmakers of whether enough healthy people are signing up and whether enough insurers are competing to push prices downward.

In two new studies published in Health Affairs this month, researchers found that inducing more insurer participation into the marketplaces and getting more people to sign up is important for keeping premiums low. But those are two goals that may be hard to achieve next year.

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