White House Weighs In on State Exchange Premium Increases
The Obama administration is urging state regulators to reduce insurers' requests for large premium increases for 2016 exchange plans, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, some insurers said in 2014 they paid out more in claims than they received in premiums, meaning they lost money on policies sold through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges. Insurers said many new customers were in worse health than they expected. As a result, some insurers have requested premium increases of between 10% and 40%.
According to the Times, the administration is working to control premiums because large increases could:
- Increase costs for certain consumers and the federal government;
- Reinforce conservative criticism of the law; and
- Compromise public support of the ACA (Pear, New York Times, 8/3).
N.J., N.Y. Insurers Seek Premium Increases
In related news, premiums for plans offered through New York's state-run exchange will increase by an average of 7.1% in 2016, Modern Healthcare reports.
According to Modern Healthcare, premiums vary significantly depending on plan type and region, which illustrates the "difficulties of relying on crude averages."
Further, premiums for the second-lowest-cost silver plans -- on which the ACA's subsidies are based -- will increase by 0.5% in New York City (Herman, Modern Healthcare, 8/3).
Meanwhile, three insurers in New Jersey that offer coverage through the exchange have requested double-digit premium increases for next year. The proposed premium increases would affect more than half of exchange enrollees in the state (AP/Sacramento Bee, 8/4).
In comparison, Covered California officials last week announced that the premiums for health plans offered on the exchange will increase by an average of 4% next year, down slightly from the 4.2% hike in 2015.
Actual rates are pending review by state regulators, but consumers can view preliminary plans on the exchange starting this week. The rates now will undergo a 60-day public comment period.
The exchange's next open enrollment period will begin Nov. 1 and run through Jan. 31, 2016 (California Healthline, 7/28).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.