Analysis: Average Exchange Plan Premiums, Deductibles Rise for 2016
U.S. residents purchasing health plans through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges for the 2016 coverage year will see higher premiums and deductibles for silver- and bronze-level plans, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis released Wednesday, USA Today reports.
The analysis analyzed exchange plan costs for a 27-year-old man. It found that:
- The average premium for a bronze-level plan increased by more than 13%, while the average deductible for such a plan increased by 13%;
- The average premium for a silver-level plan increased by more than 11%, while the average deductible for such a plan increased by 8%; and
- The average premium for a gold-level plan increased by nearly 14%, while the average deductible for such a plan decreased by nearly 1%.
According to the analysis, Alaska had the highest average percentage premium increase, at about 35%. Hawaii, Minnesota and Montana also had average percentage premium increases of more than 30%.
Further, the analysis found that Washington had the highest average percentage increase in family plan deductibles, at about 76%. Mississippi and South Carolina also saw large average percentage increases in such deductibles, at about 42% and 37%, respectively.
Meanwhile, fewer gold-level plans are being offered for the 2016 coverage year in 29 states, with five states are losing more than half of such plans.
Katherine Hempstead, director of insurance coverage at RWJF, said, "A lot of the insurers talked about how they priced too low and claims exceeded premiums for a lot of them, so there's been an adjustment." She added, "Going forward you really would expect to see the market stabilize."
Meanwhile, HHS has characterized the increase in silver-level premiums as "relatively modest compared to those in the individual market before the [ACA], when consumers in the individual market regularly experienced double-digit rate increases on average."
However, Hempstead said comparing prices for individual insurance plans before and after the ACA took effect is not accurate because plans today offer broader coverage and prohibit discrimination based on individuals' pre-existing conditions.
In addition, John Goodman, CEO of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, said such a comparison is misleading because the recession at the end of the last decade altered health care costs (O'Donnell, USA Today, 12/16).