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Average rate increases could be even lower for Ohioans living in Franklin County, which includes Columbus. Those who enroll in coverage through HealthCare.gov, the state’s federally facilitated exchange will have 38 plan options – 13 bronze, 19 silver, six gold. The lowest-cost bronze plan available in 2017, which is offered by MedMutual, will cost 8.85 percent more than the lowest-cost bronze plan available to Columbus residents in 2016. That plan was offered by CareSource.
To see how changes to the cost of Obamacare plans could impact middle-class individuals and families who do not qualify for subsidies, we obtained quotes for the lowest-cost bronze 2016 and 2017 plans available in Franklin County through HealthCare.gov.
We found premium increases of 8.85 percent across the board for the brackets we quoted: a 35-year-old male nonsmoker; a 45-year-old male nonsmoker; and a family of four with a two male and two female members, all of them nonsmoking.
We broke down these rates and increases, and then compared them with average prices for other common expenses.
Under the Affordable Care Act, if the only health insurance plans available to someone exceed 8.16 percent of their income (this is the amount for 2017), then they may qualify for a hardship exemption from the individual shared responsibility provision and thereby can avoid the tax penalty.
In Franklin County, the annual premium for a 35-year-old who purchases the lowest-cost bronze plan is $2,803. And, if this person were to earn between $20,000 and $35,000, they could be eligible for a tax credit that would reduce that annual premium to $342 to $2,689. There is no income scenario in which a hardship exemption would apply to this particular individual.
Even with an exemption, consumers may want to consider some form of healthcare benefits to help lower out-of-pocket exposure to medical bills. Anyone who claims an exemption or shops for individual and family health plans in Ohio’s private market or through the federally facilitated exchange may want to consider working with a local, licensed health insurance agent. These individuals can help you navigate coverage options, including Obamacare plans as well as supplemental coverage such as critical illness, dental, hospital indemnity, and medical gap products to help lower out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
 Gaba, Charles. “Final Touches: Approved Unsubsidized Rate Hikes for Washington, South Carolina, Ohio.” ACASignups.net. Oct. 26, 2016. http://acasignups.net/16/10/27/final-touches-approved-unsubsidized-rate-hikes-washington-south-carolina-ohio
 Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo. “Obama Health Plan Hit by Double-Digit Premium Hikes.” AP. Oct. 25, 2016. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/4e2846e6f17a4c4482d5b8c1243b85dd/obama-health-plan-hit-double-digit-premium-hikes
 Rates acquired through HealthCare.gov and INSXCloud on Oct. 31, 2016. 2016 CareSource Just4Me Bronze (HMO) rates – 35-year-old male, nonsmoker: $214.61 per month; 45-year-old male, nonsmoker: $253.60 per month; family of four, including two parents (a male and a female, both 45 years old), a 7-year-old daughter, and a 13-year-old son: $730.24 per month. 2017 MedMutual · Market HMO 7150 – OhioHealth (Bronze HMO) rates – 35-year-old male, nonsmoker: $233.60 per month; 45-year-old male, nonsmoker: $276.03 per month; family of four, including two parents (a male and a female, both 45 years old), a 7-year-old daughter, and a 13-year-old son: $794.84 per month.
 Internal Revenue Service. 26 CFR 601.105: Examination of returns and claims for refund, credit, or abatement; determination of correct tax liability. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-16-24.pdf