And federal officials also note that analyses by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Avalere Health consultancy have found moderate price hikes for 2016 among a selection of Obamacare "silver" plans. Those plans are a closely watched category on Obamacare exchanges.
Silver plans, which cover 70 percent of their customers' health costs, are the most popular type of Obamacare plan in terms of enrollment, and are the only type that offers lower-income customers the ability to get financial assistance with their out-of-pocket health costs in addition to their monthly premiums.
And the second-lowest priced silver plan in each Obamacare market is used as a benchmark to calculate how much subsidy-eligible customers will get for their Obamacare plans.
Those subsidies, which are available to customers with low or moderate incomes, are often generous. The average subsidy, or tax credit, for eligible customers was $263 per month this year. And 80 percent of HealthCare.gov customers had access to a plan that would cost them less than $100 per month after their subsidy. Plans that cost less than $50 per month after factoring in the subsidy were available to 7 in 10 HealthCare.gov customers.
Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees Obamacare, said the rate-review authority that many state insurance regulators have, as well as "greater transparency" required of insurers in justifying their proposed prices, "have helped lower proposed premiums in a number of states."
"The Affordable Care Act increases competition for consumers, allowing them to shop around for the best deal," Albright said. "Last year, more than half of re-enrolling customers on HealthCare.gov actively shopped and selected a new plan, something that wasn't possible for many consumers prior to the ACA due to the risk of being charged a higher premium or denied coverage entirely due to a pre-existing condition."
"Consumers will find a range of quality, affordable coverage options on the marketplace in 2016."