The Obama administration said Tuesday that consumers didn't experience double-digit premium increases in Obamacare last year.
A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services found the average cost of Obamacare coverage for people receiving tax credits rose from $102 to $106 per month, or 4 percent, in 2015. The report attempts to play offense against claims that many Obamacare customers will experience double-digit increases.
The administration wants to debunk a report from the consulting firm McKinsey released in November that projected double-digit increases for 2016 plans.
The HHS report took aim at that assertion, saying that the increases were based on proposed premiums from insurers.
Such proposals are "not a reliable indicator of what typical consumers will actually pay because tax credits reduce the cost of coverage for the vast majority of people, shopping gives all consumers a chance to find the best deal and public rate review can bring down proposed increases," HHS said.
The report also noted that tax credits increase alongside premiums, helping to offset the costs. It noted that 85 percent of Obamacare customers receive a tax credit.
If a premium rises by similar amounts, then "85 percent of customers will not necessarily pay more because their tax credits will go up to compensate," HHS said.
Under Obamacare, insurers must release proposed rates if they go beyond 10 percent. Those rates are then negotiated by the state in which the insurer wants to sell insurance.
Last year, proposed double-digit increases by as much as 50 percent sparked criticism from GOP lawmakers that Obamacare is not affordable.
HHS said that the average rate changes in a rate filing assumes that all consumers stick with their current health insurance plan and doesn't take into account consumers shopping for a better rate.