Insurance Premiums Set To Increase For Low Income Arkansans

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- Insurance premiums for low income individuals across the nation are set to rise next year, and that doesn’t exclude Arkansans.

Republican State Representative Charlie Collins said that  insurance premiums for those on the Exchange program will rise almost 10 percent in 2017. That increase will also carry over to those under Arkansas’ Private Option.

“Every year we have to reassess what those insurance rates are going to be.” Collins said.

Collins claimed the rate increase is significantly less than nearby states like Texas and Louisiana.

“Insurance rates are going up two, thee, or four times as fast as they are in Arkansas,” Collins said.

However, federal funding is designed to cover a significant portion of the increase.

“Most of those premiums are going to be picked up by government spending, and not the individual policy holder,” Collins said. “So, it will be transparent to most low income Arkansans.”

In Arkansas, a family of four bringing in $97,000 or less per year could qualify for government benefits amid the insurance premium increases.

Collins said his fellow state Republicans hope a new administration in Washington D.C. will provide better outlets to lower premium rates in the future.

Until then, Collins said the bipartisan movement to further the Private Option, soon to be renamed “Arkansas Works,” will be a focus of the legislature.

“We are going to continue to work hard to do what we can to keep those rates down,” Collins said.