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Critics, supporters of Affordable Care Act seize on premium prices

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MIAMI — As the second enrollment period for health insurance under the federal health law gets underway, critics and supporters are seizing on premium prices.

Premiums are politically controversial and both sides have used data to bolster their argument. Critics say premium increases signal the Affordable Care Act isn't working, but health insurance rates have risen as much as 20 or 30 percent in recent years.

State officials have said consumers could expect an average premium increase of 13 percent in 2015. But the feds have said roughly 75 percent of Floridians live in areas where the second-lowest cost silver premium will actually decline. The majority of Floridians purchased silver plans. The second-lowest cost silver plan is especially popular because it's the benchmark plan to calculate subsidies.

An Associated Press analysis found that average monthly premiums for mid-range health insurance plans increased as much as 20 percent in Florida with the biggest increases seen in rural areas. But South Florida saw only meager increases and premiums decreased ever so slightly in Miami-Dade County.

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