ACA Exchange Plans’ Premiums To Rise by 7.5% in 2015, Report Finds
Premiums for plans sold through the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges will increase by 7.5% on average next year, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute, The Hill reports (Viebeck, The Hill, 8/11).
The estimates are based on preliminary data from 27 states and the District of Columbia (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 8/11).
According to HRI Managing Director Ceci Connolly, the average 7.5% increase is "well below the double-digit increases many feared."
However, the report noted that premiums will vary, with some consumers seeing substantial rate hikes and others experiencing premium declines. For example:
- Nevada will see the highest proposed rate increase at 36% for plans sold by Time Insurance;
- Premiums for exchange plans in Indiana are estimated to increase by 15.4%;
- Exchange plans in Oregon likely will have rate decreases of 2.5%; and
- Arizona residents in some plans could see their rates decrease by as much as 23%.
Connolly noted that overall, average individual monthly premiums for ACA plans in 2015 will cost about $384 before federal subsidies are applied.
According to the report, insurers generally are raising their premium rates for exchange plans if their beneficiary pools are made up of more sicker, elderly individuals who are likely to use more medical care than previously estimated. Meanwhile, insurers with healthier risk pools are more inclined to lower their rates. The report noted that "bellwether" Blue Cross Blue Shield plans have proposed increases generally above 9%.
The report also noted that the rates are not yet set in stone. Connolly said that state "insurance commissioners get a chance to weigh in on rates before fall enrollment" (The Hill, 8/11). In addition, the report predicted that more major commercial insurers will join the exchange markets for the 2015 open enrollment period (CQ HealthBeat, 8/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.