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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Survey: U.S. sees sharpest health insurance premium increases in years -- By Sarah Hurtubise, The Daily Caller

President Barack Obama listens to remarks during an event at the White House in Washington April 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)Americans have recently been hit with some of the largest premium increases in years, according to a Morgan Stanley survey of insurance brokers.

The investment bank’s April survey of 148 brokers found that this quarter, the average premium increase for customers renewing an insurance plan is 12 percent in the small group market and 11 percent in the individual market, according to Forbes’ Scott Gottlieb.

The hikes — the largest in the past three years, according to Morgan Stanley’s quarterly reports — are “largely due to changes under the [Affordable Care Act],” analysts concluded. Rates have been growing increasingly fast throughout all of 2013, after a period of drops in 2012.

While insurers were hiking premiums since 2012 by smaller amounts, the lead-up to the Obamacare’s launch has seen the average rate at which premiums are growing fourfold.

The small group market saw a jump from a growth rate of close to 3 percent during Morgan Stanley’s September 2013 survey to just above 6 percent three months later in December — the month before a surge of Obamacare regulations hit insurance companies.

Over the next three months, the rate doubled again to the current average small growth premium growth rate of 12 percent.

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