Health insurance prices up 7.5 percent for benchmark plans

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015, file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington. The math is harsh: The federal penalty for having no health insurance is set to jump to $695, and the Obama administration is being urged to highlight that cold fact to help drive its new pitch for health law sign-ups. That means the 2016 sign-up season starting Nov. 1 could see penalties become a bigger focus to motivate millions of people who have remained eligible for coverage, but uninsured. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(AP) – The federal government says the cost of a benchmark plan on HealthCare.gov will increase 7.5 percent for 2016 coverage, but most people will still be able to buy a plan for less than $100 a month, after tax credits.

Monday was the first day people could see 2016 prices on the website established under President Barack Obama’s health care law. A new sign-up season starts Sunday, and consumers can start browsing now as they prepare to buy.

Rates increased by double digits in some states using the federal marketplace, but other states are seeing lower prices.

Insurers in many states had underpriced their plans and are raising rates because of medical inflation and higher claims than expected. Insurers are trying to find the right prices in the new marketplace.

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