Premium Hikes Declining for Individual Coverage Policies, Report Finds
The number of double-digit percentage increases to health insurance premiums in the individual market has significantly declined, due in large part to the Affordable Care Act, according to a reportÂ released Friday by HHS, the Washington Times reports
The report is based on publicly available data from about 15 states between 2010 and 2013 (Howell,Â Washington Times, 2/22).
The report found that in 2012, 34% of insurance plans in the individual market sought to increase premiums by at least 10%, compared with 75% of plans in 2010. Further, the average premium increase in 2012 was 30% lower than in 2010 (Baker, "Healthwatch,"Â The Hill, 2/22).
In addition, the downward trend continued into 2013, with only 14% of rate requests this year being increases of 10% or more, the report found.
The report challenges Republicans' claims that the ACA has led to increased insurance premiums (Washington Times, 2/22). It credits the decline to the ACA, which provided $250 million in grants to help 40 states impose stricter rate review processes ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 2/22).
The law brought "an unprecedented level of scrutiny" to insurance rate hikes and increased insurers' accountability, the report states (Washington Times, 2/22).
The insurance industry countered that claim, instead attributing the lower premium increases to an overall decline in health care costs and improved efficiency ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 2/22).
However, the Obama administration also examined group health plans and did not see a similar drop in rate increases, which would be expected if lower health costs were driving the lower premiums, according to theÂ Washington Post's "Wonkblog" (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 2/22).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.