A significant problem looms for the Affordable Care Act when the next open enrollment period begins in November, according to many health care experts and media accounts. The administration announced on June 26 that those currently enrolled would be automatically renewed in the same plan for 2015. There is a growing concern this will cause many who received subsidies through the federal exchange to see sharp rises in after-subsidy insurance premiums due to the way subsidies are calculated.

“Many who are auto-enrolled will end up paying more than they needed to for coverage because they will not realize that last year’s best choice won’t be this year’s best choice—either because HealthCare.gov has failed to educate them on this point or because they don’t have hours to squander on the Exchange trying to make price comparisons,” explained Christopher Conover, PhD, a Research Scholar at Duke University’s Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research.

Automatic Renewal = Automatic Premium Increase?

The automatic renewal of plans for people already enrolled through the federal exchange was intended to allow greater focus on enrolling the uninsured as well as easing pressure on the Healthcare.gov web site, which suffered catastrophic failure when it first launched in October 2013.

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