Health insurance premiums will stay relatively low and deductibles will drop in Madison for a benchmark plan on the federal exchange next year, but deductibles will go up about 40 percent statewide.
Sign-up begins Sunday at healthcare.gov and continues through the end of January. For coverage to begin Jan. 1, people must enroll by Dec. 15.
For a 40-year-old buying the second-lowest-cost silver plan, the coverage level used to determine government subsidy amounts, the monthly premium in Madison next year will be $254, the same as this year, according to Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
That is the lowest premium for such coverage in Wisconsin, tied with Appleton and Janesville/Beloit. The average premium among the state’s 19 largest metro areas, $319, will be 4.2 percent higher than this year, Citizen Action said. Hudson will have the highest premium next year, at $413.
Statewide, including rural areas, benchmark plan premiums will go up an average of 4.7 percent in Wisconsin next year, compared to 7.5 percent nationally, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid said.
Cheaper and more expensive plans are also available.
The deductible for the second-lowest-cost silver plan in Madison next year will be $3,400, down from $4,000 this year. The average deductible statewide will be $4,390, up from $3,137 this year.
About 184,000 state residents are enrolled in the exchange. Nearly 90 percent of them receive tax credits, available to people with incomes less than four times the federal poverty level. In Wisconsin, the average tax credit is $312 a month.
Dane County residents who earn less than 150 percent of the poverty level can also get help through HealthConnect, a program led by United Way of Dane County and funded by UW Health.
State rates vary widely
The federal government operates health marketplaces in 37 states. The largest increase was in Oklahoma, where the silver benchmark plan’s premium rose by an average of 36 percent, according to an analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services. Other states with premium increases of more than 25 percent were Alaska, Montana and New Mexico.
The largest drop in premiums occurred in Indiana, where the average price of a benchmark silver plan will decrease by 13 percent. Average benchmark plan premiums will also drop in Maine, Mississippi and Ohio, according to the government figures.
HHS did not provide a breakdown of how much average plans will cost in dollar figures in each state, although people can individually search using their ZIP code on the marketplace website.
Some places with large increases were exceptionally cheap last year, so their actual cost may not be out of line from national trends even with price jumps. For instance, Phoenix’s benchmark plan is going up 19 percent for next year. But Phoenix’s cheapest silver plan this year had the least expensive premiums in the nation, costing a 40-year-old $166 a month.
However, other places seeing price rises already have expensive insurance. In Alaska, which this year was the nation’s most expensive region with a 40-year-old paying $488 for the cheapest silver plan, the cost of the benchmark silver plan is going up 32 percent.
HHS officials last week unveiled a series of improvements to the healthcare.gov website intended to make this year’s enrollment season faster and smoother than in previous years.
Officials urged consumers currently enrolled in coverage to come back to the exchange and shop to see if they can get a better deal. Last year’s returning customers who switched plans within the same tier of coverage saved an average of nearly $400 on their 2015 annualized premiums after tax credits compared to those who stayed in their same plans, according to HHS.
The HHS analysis also found that nearly eight in 10 people who had marketplace coverage in 2015 will be able to purchase health insurance that costs less than $100 per month next year once the law’s monthly tax credits are applied. About seven in 10 returning consumers will be able to buy a plan for $75 per month in 2016 with tax credits.
Kaiser Health News contributed to this report.