Some Exchange Plan Premiums Could Have Double Digit Increases
Insurance premiums on plans sold through the federal or state health insurance exchanges in some states could see double-digit increases, according to an analysis from Avalere Health, The Hill reports.
However, the analysis said that the expected premium increases likely would not be linked to the demographics of exchange enrollees, as it also found that the "current age distribution appears to be close enough to plan projections to avoid driving major premium increases." Instead, the increases would be linked to rising medical costs, use of health care services and new medical technology.
The analysis also noted that young adult enrollment is uneven across the states, ranging from about 45% of enrollees in Washington, D.C., being between ages 18 and 34, compared with just 19% in West Virginia. The report said that states would have to ensure continued enrollment among young adults to avoid an additional uptick in premium costs.
The analysis also said that the federal government would have to shoulder a disproportionate amount of premium costs in states that have a high number of enrollees who are eligible for federal subsidies. Such populations range from 16% in D.C. to 94% in Mississippi. The analysis added that while this federal support could "dampen the need for plans to price premiums competitively, it could also lead [HHS] to consider a more active purchasing approach over time" (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 5/8).
The report also found that:
- Age distribution was relatively consistent across all plans, despite initial predictions that older U.S. residents would favor more generous plans and younger people would select sparser coverage;
- Hispanics comprise a disproportionate share of people eligible for exchange plans, but their enrollment lags behind other racial and ethnic groups;
- More women are enrolling in coverage than men, with men comprising just 46% of exchange enrollees despite representing 55% of those eligible for such coverage; and
- Early data show that exchanges are successfully enrolling uninsured individuals, including federal government data that shows 85% of people with subsidized exchange plans were previously uninsured (Avalere release, 5/8).