Health officials, however, have repeatedly highlighted the affordability of the plans to many people. The new tally report revealed how many people are getting financial assistance with their Obamacare insurance.
Nearly 85 percent, or 9.4 million of all Obamacare customers, received federal subsidies, or tax credits, to help lower the cost of their monthly premiums. Those subsidies are available to people who have low or moderate household incomes earning between one and four times the federal poverty level, or $20,090 to $80,360 for a family of three.
Premium subsidies can significantly reduce the actual premiums paid by a customer, particularly if they have lower incomes. The average subsidy nationally was $291 per month.
Counihan, during the last open enrollment, repeatedly pointed out that most customers on the exchanges would be able to find a plan costing them $100 or less in monthly premiums after the subsidies are factored in.
Another 57 percent or so of all customers nationally additionally receive subsidies to lower the amount of out-of-pocket health costs they are personally charged when receiving medical services or medications, according to the new report. Those so-called cost-sharing reductions are available to people whose household incomes are below 250 percent of the poverty level, or $50,225 for a family of three, and who sign up for "silver" Obamacare plans.
Silver plans, which cover the costs of about 70 percent of health services, are by far the most popular Obamacare plans, with 7.72 million people customers this year, or nearly 70 percent of all plan selections.
But the value of cost-sharing subsidies drops off the higher one's income. That is one factor that Laszewski and others have cited when they note that enrollment in Obamacare plans is relatively low among higher-income groups.
A report by the Avalere Health consultancy shows that 81 percent of the potential Obamacare exchange customers who earned between 1 and 1.5 times the poverty level selected a health plan during the most recent open enrollment.
But only 45 percent of the potential customers earning between 151 percent and 200 percent of poverty signed up. And only about a third of the potential exchange customers earning between 201 and 250 percent of poverty signed up.
Just 2 percent of the potential exchange enrollees who earn above 400 percent of poverty — the limit for receiving premium subsidies — selected a plan. People who earn more than 400 percent of poverty pay full price for the monthly premiums, and would be most affected by the price hikes proposed for next year.
Also susceptible to those price increases are people who purchase individual health plans outside of the Obamacare marketplaces. Subsidies are available only to eligible customers on those marketplaces.