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Elderly Health Care Costs Could Spike Under Federal Health Law

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, many consumers buying health insurance could take a big hit to their checkbooks, and New Mexico may take the biggest hit of all.

That's according to a new study, authored by the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. The "Obamacare Rate Map" looks to gauge new insurance premiums state by state, and aims to put a number on how much money the Affordable Care Act will save or cost consumers.

For instance, in California, 27 year olds could see premium increases of 23-percent, while older Californians may see rates drop by 5-percent.

Researchers only looked at 13 states so far, but they estimate that in New Mexico, 64 year olds may face the biggest insurance rate spikes in the country to the tune of 160%.

"The reason is older people are generally sicker," says the Manhattan Institutes Avick Roy. "They consume more health care. If they're required to have an insurance package with lower deductibles and lower co-pays, it covers more and more services. Necessarily, all of that's going to be passed down to the consumer in the form of higher premiums."

According to Roy, states like New Mexico with less insurance regulation will have to provide more services and protections under the law, causing rates to jump.

The study focuses on those unable to get health insurance through their employer, or from the government through programs like Medicaid.

Editor's Note: Another report looked at the impact the Affordable Care Act will have on health insurance premiums. KUNM covered that analysis here

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