Switching Exchange Plans Could Save Consumers Money, Study Finds
Consumers who selected the lowest-cost, silver-level health plans sold through the federal exchange last year could see an average premium increase of 15% this year unless they shop around for a new plan, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study released Wednesday, the Washington Post's "To Your Health" reports (Goldstein, "To Your Health," Washington Post, 11/18).
According to "To Your Health," about two-thirds of U.S. residents who purchased coverage through the federal exchange selected a silver-level plan. Of those, about 50% purchased plans with the lowest premiums available in their areas ("To Your Health," Washington Post, 11/18). The lowest-cost silver plan can change from year to year, according to the AP/ Union-Tribune.
Study Finds Consumers Who Change Plans Could Save Money
For the study, KFF researchers examined premiums for health plan sold through the federal exchange in 2,635 counties (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/18).
The study found that the lowest-cost, silver-level plan in 2016 will change in about three-quarters of the counties reviewed. Consumers could save money by switching to the lowest-cost, silver-level plans offered in their areas for the 2016 coverage year.
For example, the study found that a hypothetical 40-year-old with individual coverage who switches to the new lowest-cost silver plan in his or her area could save an average of $322 in premium costs next year. Further, individuals living in 16% of the reviewed counties could save as much as $500 in premium costs in 2016 if they make such a switch.
Cynthia Cox, the study's lead author, said, "The bottom line is that insurance companies are increasing premiums for what had been the lowest-cost silver plan," adding, "In many cases, people could save money on their premiums by switching to a new lowest-cost silver plan" (Galewitz, Kaiser Health News, 11/18).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.