ACA premiums expected to rise due to market uncertainty

Threats of repeal and replace by Republicans and the Trump Administration have many insurers left in limbo on the future of the ACA, with some premiums increasing by as much as half.
By Amy Wallace   |   Aug. 10, 2017 at 11:56 AM
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Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The Kaiser Family Foundation released a report today showing that Affordable Care Act insurance premiums are expected to rise in many states in 2018.

Insurance companies submit filings to state regulators outlining their plans to participate in the ACA exchanges and the premiums they expect to charge for the coming year.

The KFF examined preliminary premiums and insurer participation in the 20 states and the District of Columbia where premium rate filings were available and included enough detail to show the premium for specific enrollees in the silver plan, the second lowest cost plan.

The report suggests that uncertainty over threats of repeal and replace by Republicans in the House and Senate, and the Trump Administration, have had a varying impact on potential premium increases.

In 21 major cities, based on the preliminary 2018 filings, silver plan premiums for a 40-year-old non-smoker would range from $244 in Detroit to $631 in Wilmington, Del.

"We still would have seen premium increases in many of these states even without the political uncertainty," Cynthia Cox, a co-author of the analysis and associate director for Kaiser's Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance, told The Hill.

"But if the Trump administration had been more clear about what the rules were going to be for next year, we would likely have seen much smaller premium increases."

KFF found that the highest proposed premium rate increases were in Wilmington, up 49 percent from $423 to $631 a month, up 34 percent from $258 to $346 in Albuquerque, N.M., and up 33 percent from $296 to $394 in Richmond, Va. On the other end of the spectrum, unsubsidized premiums in Burlington, Vt., will remain relatively unchanged -- going from $492 to $491 -- and premiums in Providence, R.I., will actually go down by 5 percent, from $261 to $248.

"We're likely to see some insurers going back and asking for even higher premium increases from what they initially requested," Cox said. "And if they don't get more clarity soon from Congress or from the administration, we may see more insurers exiting the market later this month or next month."

An average of 4.6 insurers per state have said they intend to participate in the ACA in 2018 in the 20 states and the District of Columbia. This is down from 5.1 insurers per state in 2017, 6.2 in 2016, 6.7 in 2015 and 5.7 in 2014.

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