Analysts Predict Health Care Marketplace Premiums Will Stabilize In 2019
Consumers who buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act markets may be pleasantly surprised this fall as average premiums are forecast to rise much less than in recent years.
The price of a 2019 policy sold on the ACA exchanges will increase less than 4 percent according to an analysis of preliminary filings from insurers in all 50 states by ACASignups.net, a web site and blog run by analyst Charles Gaba that tracks ACA enrollment and insurer participation.
And those insurers are expanding their offerings.
“The news about the marketplace this year is very good, both in terms of the premium increase and extent of carrier participation,” says Katherine Hempstead, a senior policy adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (The Foundation supports NPR’s health care coverage.)
She says premiums overall are rising at about the same rates as medical inflation. Which is a big change from the last few years when prices rose in the double digits.
For example, the cost of a “bronze” policy, which is intended to cover about 60 percent of a person’s health costs, rose 17 percent from 2017 to 2018. And the cost of the more popular, and more generous, silver plan, rose 32 percent in the same timeframe.
“We’re seeing that double digit kinds of increases are occurring in a small handful of states, but they’re definitely the exceptions,” says Hempstead.
For example, premium prices in Kentucky and Connecticut are both forecast to rise an average 12 percent, according to ACASignups.net.