Insurers: Residents With Individual Policies Could See Rate Hikes in 2014
U.S. residents who purchase health coverage in the individual insurance market could see their premiums increase by between 20% and 100% in January 2014 because of certain provisions in the Affordable Care Act that take effect next year, according to officials from several large health insurers, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
Although the ACA does not include large across-the-board premium rate hikes, the officials warn that the biggest increases would affect some of the estimated 14 million individuals with self-purchased benefits or who are employed by small businesses, the AP/Bee reports.
Some of the ACA provisions that could result in the premium rate increases include:
- Changes to how insurers can base premium prices based on age or gender, which America's Health Insurance Plans projects could cause some premiums to increase by as much as 50%;
- A new premium tax that could increase premium prices by as much as 2.3% beginning in 2014, with higher rate increases in subsequent years; and
- New requirements that insurers must cover more health care services or pay a greater share of patients' medical bills.
In addition, some current individual health policies lack certain benefits -- such as maternity care -- that will become one of several essential health benefits under the ACA, which could increase premium prices for some beneficiaries.
However, federal officials have said that such increases would be offset by tax credits that consumers can apply for under the ACA.
Erin Shields Britt, a spokesperson for HHS, noted, "The health care law will bring down costs and save money for young people and families," adding, "It's misleading to look at one provision of the law alone. Taken together, the law will reduce costs" (Murphy, AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/13).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.