PPACA premiums to increase 7.5 percent

By BenefitsPro


By Kathryn Mayer

Premiums under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are slated to increase by an average of 7.5 percent in 2015, according to preliminary analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute.

Researchers analyzed filings from 27 states and the District of Columbia, and found that the average premium will be $384, before subsidies.

Still, premium increases will vary wildly from state to state, analysts said.

The highest proposed rate increase so far came in Nevada, where consumers might see their premiums rise by 36 percent. Some consumers in Arizona could see their premiums drop by 23 percent, according to HRI.

"There are wide variations from state to state and plan to plan so it really pays to shop around," said Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC's Health Research Institute.

The analysis comes after varied — and oftentimes, dire — warnings about rate increases. But recent analysis has shown more modest premium increases. Based on filings in nine states, consulting firm Avalere Health said earlier this summer that average monthly silver premiums will rise by 8 percent in 2015.

Connolly said HRI's 7.5 percent increase projection is "well below the double-digit increases many feared," adding that insurance commissioners still get a chance to weigh in on rates before the fall enrollment.

PPACA’s second enrollment period begins Nov. 15.

“Year two of the exchanges is expected to see an upswing in participation from several major commercial insurers,” PwC said in the report. Analysts noted that “bellwether” carriers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield have submitted increases that are typically above 9 percent.

The report also found that new health care co-ops, nonprofits created under the PPACA, were priced lower than competitors in Colorado, as well as Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Tennessee. “Arizona’s CO-OP is the lowest-priced plan in the state, with a 23 percent proposed rate decrease from 2014,” the report said. “Competitive premiums may not always equate to higher enrollment, however, as some CO-OPs have found.”

To see 2015 premium rate filings details by available states, click here.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com