Obamacare Rates to Rise Comparatively Modest 4 Percent in California for 2016

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Ana Oliva, left, and Felix Portillo of Los Angeles learn more about Covered California enrollment from Valeria Lopez at a March 2014 event. (Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Defying dire predictions about health insurance rate shock across the country, California’s Obamacare exchange negotiated a 4% average rate increase for the second year in a row.

The modest increase for 2016, announced Monday, may be welcome news for many of the 1.3 million Californians who buy individual policies through the state marketplace, known as Covered California.

California’s rates are a key barometer of how the Affordable Care Act is working nationwide, and the state’s performance is sure to be hotly debated among supporters and foes of the healthcare law, including the current crop of presidential candidates.

Outside California, critics of Obamacare have seized on the fact that major insurers in several states have sought rate hikes of 20% to 40%.

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