Jones: Rates for Health Insurance Plans Rose Significantly in 2014
California health insurance premiums increased significantly in 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D), the Los Angeles Times reports (Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times, 7/29).
The report came two days before Covered California, the state's insurance exchange, is scheduled to release rates for 2015.
Details of Report
For the report, the state Department of Insurance compared the price of mid-quality standard health plans in 2014 with the most popular health plans in 2013 (Nirappil, AP/Sacramento Bee, 7/29). The analysis included California's four largest insurers:
- Anthem Blue Cross;
- Blue Shield of California;
- Health Net; and
- Kaiser Permanente.
DOI found that premiums for individuals increased by between 22% and 88% in 2014 (Aliferis, "State of Health," KQED, 7/29).
According to the report, the increases were dependent on consumers':
- Geographic location; and
- Selected plan.
Jones said the largest increases were among younger individuals. For instance, 25-year-olds in Los Angeles County paid 52% more for a silver plan in 2014 than they did for a similar plan in 2013, compared with 55-year-olds in that area who paid 38% more for such a plan in 2014.
However, Jones noted that the increases did not affect low-income individuals, since they largely received extensive subsidies for health plans through the ACA (Los Angeles Times, 7/29).
Health insurers criticized Jones' analysis as misleading. They noted that many individuals were eligible for subsidies under the ACA and that health plans were subject to additional requirements under the law this year.
In a statement, California Association of Health Plans Executive Vice President Charles Bacchi said that "while some paid more for this expanded health care coverage [under the ACA], many Californians paid less and benefited from subsidies" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 7/29).
Bacchi added that Jones' analysis "doesn't take into account subsidies, enrollees who are benefiting from the ACA, or acknowledge how the ACA has substantially expanded coverage and benefits while also changing the way premiums are priced" (Los Angeles Times, 7/29).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.