Aug. 12—Premiums for 2015 health insurance plans sold in government-run marketplaces will increase an average of 8.2 percent, according to a new analysis.

The Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers found a wide range in premium changes in the 29 states and the District of Columbia where it examined filed rate changes. The average rate increase would raise the average monthly premium—before federal subsidies—to about $385.

Premiums may jump at high as 50 percent in Arkansas and drop by as much as 23 percent in Arizona.

The biggest state average premium increase—among states where all information was available—was slated to occur in Indiana, which reported an average 15.4 percent increase. That increase will bring the average premium among the nine insurers in the state’s marketplace to $514.

Oregon was found to have the lowest average change, -2.5 percent, among 13 insurers. An average premium for the state was unavailable.

The largest states in the report included Florida, 7.4 percent; New York, 6.9 percent; and Ohio, 13 percent. Eleven of the 29 states reported double digit average premium increases, although that included incomplete data from Louisiana. California also has reported incomplete data, but that report included a 4 percent weighted average premium rate increase.

The report noted that the high-profile, not-for-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield plans have submitted increase requests that are typically higher than 9 percent across the country.

The report also underscored the relatively low premiums and changes by the not-for-profit CO-OP insurance plans created through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Those plans were comparably priced or cheapest in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, and Tennessee. Arizona’s CO-OP was the lowest-priced plan in the state, with a 23 percent proposed rate decrease from 2014.

Affordability Impacted

The authors of the report noted that the submitted rates could still change in the 37 states that allow insurance commissioners to reject increases—at least by some insurers–if they are determined to be excessive.

The second ACA open enrollment begins Nov. 15.

Recent studies have warned that many existing plans may add bigger price increases than new plans of additional insurers joining exchanges for the first time. A June analysis by Avalere Health concluded that many subsidized marketplace plan enrollees will have “substantial premium increases unless they switch insurance plans in 2015.” Among the reasons: The lowest-cost plan will change in seven of the nine states Avalere examined.


Rich Daly is a senior writer/editor in HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office. Follow Rich on Twitter: @rdalyhealthcare.

Publication Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2014