Coleman said he was particularly struck by how high the percentage increases were for young adults. He said it raises the question of "whether this contributed to the low rates of enrollment for younger adults."
Young adults make up around 40 percent of the uninsured, who are the main target group for the Affordable Care Act. But they only account for about 28 percent of enrollment on the government-run ACA exchanges this year.
When asked about the dramatically higher rates under Obamacare, PwC's Connolly said, "It's just impossible to compare the ACA exchanges with the pre-ACA individual market, which, by the way, was not a market at all. It's really just apples and oranges."
Connolly noted that before Obamacare, "individuals could be charged sky-high rates or even denied coverage" if they had pre-existing medical conditions. That's no longer the case." She also pointed to the subsidies that reduce costs for most exchange enrollees, and caps on what people can be forced to pay out-of-pocket for health services.
HealthPocket acknowledged those differences from 2013 to 2014 in its report, and also noted that Obamacare now mandates certain minimum health benefits that must be covered by plans with no cost-sharing by enrollees, such as contraception and preventative care.
But HealthPocket's Coleman said, "You can't just say it's an apples to oranges market for a consumer of health insurance."
"It's a product they're going to buy or not going to buy," Coleman said. He said that people made insurance choices before Obamacare based on affordability and how plans met their health needs, as well as other factors that they valued.
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"So we have to be careful of being dismissive of the pre-reform market and imagine they were all 'junk plans,' " Coleman said. "That is clearly as much of an unjustifiable position as to say all the plans in the new market are too expensive."
Coleman also said that while Obamacare advocates are "quick to say" that most enrollees get subsidies if they buy exchange-sold plans, "it's more complicated than that."
Some people are not eligible for the subsidies because they earn too much—the subsidies as a rule are available to people earning between one and four times the federal poverty level, or $11,670 to $46,680 for an individual. And in some places, an available health plan's premium may not be a high enough percent of the customer's income to trigger the right to a subsidy.
A previous HealthPocket study of eight cities found that the income range for adults ages 18 to 34 was 41 percent lower than the income range dictated by the Affordable Care Act. In other words, it took significantly less income to reach the point where the subsidy amount decreased to zero.
And, Coleman noted, if someone buys off-exchange plans, they get no subsidy, and therefore would feel the full impact of the price increase.