Insurance premiums may rise for 80 percent of Americans under age 30

Published: Monday, Jan. 14 2013 11:09 a.m. MST

Utah Health Policy Project executive director Judi Hilman speaks during a press conference last June held in reaction to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Obamacare.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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Insurance was more expensive for 37 percent of Americans last year and may continue increasing, according to a study by Bankrate.com.

For those with higher insurance costs, 62 percent paid more because of higher premiums. In the coming year, premiums may rise for 80 percent of Americans below the age of 30, according to a Forbes article.

The change will come because of Obamacare’s community rating provision. A 25-year-old who makes $33,510 a year would have increased insurance costs of $783. That means that person's underlying cost of insurance would increase 42 percent.

Most of the Forbes article focused on a report by Kurt Giesa and Chris Carlson, who analyzed Obamacare’s community rating provision. But costs are expected to increase in other aspects as well.

“While our analysis focused primarily on the impact of age band compression, itself may increase premiums by roughly 17 percent to 20 percent for those who have preferred rates because of lower-than-average health risks,” Giesa and Carlson wrote in their report. “Young adults often qualify for these preferred rates. These increases would be in addition to any premium rate change due to age compression, required increases to benefits, or other factors discussed above.”

Americans ages 20 to 24 are already struggling in the economy. The unemployment for this age group was 38.5 percent in December. Two-thirds of those unemployed are under age 40.

With the expected price increases, Giesa and Carlson suspect young people will go without health insurance because they can sign up for insurance after they are sick.

According to Bankrate’s model however, customers shouldn’t settle for rising costs.

“We continue to view rising expenses and stagnant wages as a key financial hurdle for American households,” said Doug Whiteman, insurance analyst at Bankrate.com. “But consumers shouldn’t accept rising insurance premiums without a fight. Compare quotes from at least three other companies, investigate all possible discounts and don’t be afraid to ask your current insurer for a discount. You may be able to get a better deal.”

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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