Premium increases remain steady

By BenefitsPro

By Kathryn Mayer

Health insurance premiums have remained steady in the lead up to the implementation of the main provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to new analysis.

HealthPocket, a website that compares and ranks health plans, said this week that health premiums increased by an average of 1.2 percent per plan between Feb. 1 and May 1.

But some outliers lingered.

States with the highest premium increases were Wyoming (7.8 percent), Illinois (7.7 percent), Wisconsin (5.4 percent) and Delaware (5 percent).

HealthPocket analyzed premium rates for actively quoted plans in the marketplace — about 51,200 individual quotes.

HealthPocket CEO Bruce Telkamp said the report establishes a baseline for health plan premiums during a period of “market unpredictability.”

“There is a lot of speculation about what will happen to premiums when the new ACA or Obamacare health plans come out this October,” Telkamp said in a statement. “We want to make sure that consumers have access to timely and unbiased cost information, not just the insurance companies and industry insiders.”

Just how much PPACA will affect premiums has been a hot subject in the debate over the law’s ongoing implementation. Though the administration has insisted PPACA provisions will successfully curb health care costs long-term, other industry insiders argue premiums will most certainly increase for consumers because of reform.

HealthPocket researchers pointed to individual carriers as major contributors to specific state increases; Altius One (Wyoming), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (Illinois), Anthem BCBS (Wisconsin) and CoventryOne (Delaware) had rate increases on their marketed plan portfolios ranging from 7 percent to 16 percent.

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