Affordable Care Act navigators, shown here in Texas, guide people through choosing health insurance plans on the exchange market during open enrollment. Open enrollment this year runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Georgia ACA health insurance rate increases in nation’s top 10

Obamacare rates for 2018 are now online for people to window shop before enrollment opens Nov. 1. And customers here will find something disturbing.

Georgia’s premiums on the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange markets aren’t just going up. They’re going up more than most places in the U.S.

The firm Avalere has just studied average 2018 premium rates for all 50 states, and it laid out a state-by-state comparison. Georgia’s price hikes were in the top 10 in all categories.

For example, take a 50-year-old individual making too much income for subsidies, more than about $50,000 a year. That person’s premium on a silver plan would average $807 per month next year, up from $544 in 2017.

That’s the average; rates vary from region to region. Rural areas can be far more expensive than Atlanta.

In previous years Georgia’s Obamacare rates did not rise so steeply. Insurance companies have blamed the increases this year largely on the uncertainty in Washington over subsidies that help lower costs for lower-income people.

The average rate increases the Georgia Department of Insurance approved for the four companies that serve Georgia’s Affordable Care Act exchange are all over 50 percent. Blue Cross has also pulled out of the individual market in several metro areas including Atlanta.

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