LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A new study says costs of medical claims would rise an average of 34 percent for individuals in Kentucky next year under the Affordable Care Act.

The study was released recently by the Society of Actuaries, the nation's leading group of financial risk analysts. It addresses only individual policies, not employer plans.

The cost of medical claims is the biggest driver of health insurance premiums.

In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear created a state-run marketplace to sell insurance to individuals and small businesses under the act. Some states have not created the exchanges.

The Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange will eventually help more than 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians arrange coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Another key component of the act is a possible change to Medicaid — states can decide whether to expand the federal-state program that helps pay for health care for the poor and disabled.

According to the Society of Actuaries report, if Kentucky opts to expand Medicaid, the cost of claims will go up 32 percent.

Beshear has not yet decided whether to expand Medicaid in Kentucky.

Medicaid covered about 825,000 Kentuckians in fiscal year 2012, according to the state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Under expansion, Medicaid would cover anyone who is younger than 65 years old and earns up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $15,400 for an individual.

The link to the full report can be found here:

http://cdn-files.soa.org/web/research-cost-aca-report.pdf

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