Assisting clients in purchasing health insurance during the 2015 open enrollment season may be easier technically, but increased costs will be a difficult pill to swallow.
Based on preliminary data from 27 states and the District of Columbia, premiums for plans sold through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges are set to increase an average 7.5% next year, according to an analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute.
That’s well below the double-digit jumps many in the industry feared, and certainly less stark than health plan increases insurance agents reported this year—a 100% reported increase in Delaware, for example.
However, some areas may not be so lucky.
In Nevada, producers should prepare to help clients face an estimated 36% increase in plans sold by Time Insurance. Indianans also face a steep 15.4% for exchange plans, while the so-called “bellwether” Blue Cross Blue Shield plans have proposed increases above 9%.
Of course, the increased pressure on the American pocketbook is not totally widespread. Plans sold through the troubled Oregon exchange will likely have rate decreases of 2.5%, and residents in certain parts of Arizona could see premiums decline by as much as 23%.
Full projected rate increases for the considered states include:
As expected, most rate increases are attributed to an increased number of elderly, sicker applicants more likely to use medical care. Those in more healthy risk pools saw premiums stay steady or even decrease.
Overall, PwC suggests average individual monthly premiums will cost about $384 in 2015 before federal subsidies are applied. Potential game-changers could include the entrance of new commercial carriers and any action by individual insurance commissioners.
You may also enjoy: "Expect more tech glitches in year two of Obamacare, officials say"
"Why ACA's auto-enroll tool may not be best for your clients"
"Obamacare subsidies in peril as court rulings differ"