Study: ACA Exchange Rates To Increase by 8% on Average in 2015
Premiums for plans sold through exchanges in nine states are set to increase by an average of 8% next year, according to an analysis of proposed premiums released Wednesday by Avalere Health, according to, Modern Healthcare reports.
For the analysis, Avalere researchers examined preliminary rate filings in:
- Rhode Island;
- Virginia; and
Specifically, the researchers analyzed premiums for individual coverage for a 40-year-old non-smoker.
The analysis found that the average monthly premium for a silver plan would increase from $324 to $350, not counting federal subsidies (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 6/18).
It also found that premiums would increase in all of the surveyed states except for Oregon, which is expected to see an average decrease of 1.4%, or about $3 per month. Oregon also has the lowest premium filed among the states, at $197, and the lowest average costs, with an average monthly premium for a silver-level plan of $272 in 2015.
In comparison, premiums across the other states would increase by between 2.5%, or $8 per month, in Rhode Island, to 16%, or $54 per month, in Indiana. Vermont reported the highest average costs, with a silver-level plan costing about $466 per month in 2015.
Meanwhile, Indiana reported the largest gap between the most and least costly proposed silver plan premiums for 2015, ranging between $211 and $587 (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 6/18).
According to Modern Healthcare, the rates still have to be approved by state regulators, so they could change substantially before the Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period begins in November (Modern Healthcare, 6/18). Most other states still are in the process of collecting insurers' proposed 2015 rates (Viebeck, The Hill, 6/18).
Rate Increases Vary Based on 2014 Enrollment
Meanwhile, a separate analysis of 10 states' preliminary insurers rates by the Wall Street Journal found, on average, that insurers that offered low premiums and garnered most of the market in 2014 "feel they have room to raise rates" in 2015. Those increases range from an 8.5% increase proposed by Anthem in Virginia to a 22.8% increase proposed by CareFirst for BlueChoice plans in Maryland, with most proposed increases at about 10%.
In comparison, insurers that only won a small portion of the market are planning on lowering premiums for 2015 to attract more consumers. For example, Oregon's Health CO-OP, which enrolled fewer than 1,000 consumers in 2014, plans to cut rates by 21% for 2015 (Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, 6/18).
Waxman Touts CDC Report on Low Premiums
In related news, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said that a new CDC report that found premiums "are often significantly less expensive than what was available on the individual market before reform" conclusively shows that GOP's criticisms of the ACA were unfounded, The Hill reports.
In a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Waxman said the findings are "authoritative" proof that consumers are paying less under the ACA and "contradic[t]" a report filed last year by Upton "which asserted that premiums under the [ACA] would rise by as much as 400%" (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 6/18).
ACA 'Sticker Shock' Lower Than Anticipated, Study Finds
Meanwhile, a separate report from economists at Wharton School of Business finds that consumers who purchased coverage between 2010 and 2012 saw an average premium increase of between 14% and 28% when they switched to ACA plans, far lower than estimates provided by other studies, the Washington Post's "Wonkblog" reports.
For the study, the researchers examined the individual market in California and 23 other states that used the federal exchange. Specifically, they compared plans offered before the ACA with the current prices for the least-costly bronze plan and the two least-costly silver plans. The analysis did not incorporate the effect of federal subsidies on premium costs (Millman, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 6/18).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.