The Pennsylvania Insurance Department on Wednesday released preliminary rate requests for 20 small-group health plans and 18 individual plans that will be offered under the Affordable Care Act for next year.

The requests for increases now under reveiw by the insurance department averaged 7.9 percent for small group plans and 23.6 percent for individual plans, but the final rates that will be posted in October could be lower.

In addition, 75 percent of the Pennsylvanians who purchased insurance for this year on the exchange received a federal subsidy that reduces their cost.

This year indivduals with annual incomes up to $47,520 qualified for a subsidity, and for a family of four, the income limit was $97,200, the insurance department said.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services said the subsidies rise along with premium increases, which could insulate consumers from steep increases next year.