Obamacare's critics promised the law would send insurance premiums skyrocketing. They were wrong.
Or, if they're not wrong, they're at least not right yet.
Nearly 20 states have released preliminary information about premiums for insurance policies sold on their insurance exchanges, and the nightmare scenarios have not come to pass. In most of those states, the average increase across all exchange plans is in the single digits.
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis of 18 states' initial filings, 10 states will see average premium increases of less than 10 percent—nominal hikes in line with the standard increases that have happened every year with or without Obamacare.
The outliers so far are Indiana, with an average increase of 15 percent, and Rhode Island, where the average premium will fall by about 1 percent.
Initial rates could still change; several states have the power to review proposed increases and bargain for a better deal. But the early look at states' 2015 rates helps shed some light on whether Obamacare's second year will bring steep cost hikes.
There are wild variations among different insurance plans. In Oregon alone, one plan wants to cut its premiums by 21 percent, while another wants to raise its rates by 28 percent. The extremes make for easy talking points ("Look how much premiums are going up!" "No, they're going down!"), but they don't reflect the experience most people will have when it's time to pony up for plans: The average Oregon insurance premium will rise by 2.2 percent.