KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Insurers’ 2015 Rate Filings Set Stage For Consumer Decisions

The Wall Street Journal notes that, as rates for the upcoming season shake out, consumers will make choices between paying higher premiums to stay on their current plans or switching coverage to save cash. Meanwhile, news outlets detail recent reports that analyze these costs, as well as the impact of federal subsidies, and offer regional takes on the rates.

The Wall Street Journal: Premiums Rise At Big Insurers, Fall At Small Rivals Under Health Law
Hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide who bought insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act will face a choice this fall: swallow higher premiums to stay in their plan, or save money by switching. That is the picture emerging from proposed 2015 insurance rates in the 10 states that have completed their filings, which stretch from Rhode Island to Washington state. In all but one of them, the largest health insurer in the state is proposing to increase premiums between 8.5% and 22.8% for next year, according to a Wall Street Journal review of the filings. That percentage represents the average rate increases for all individual health plans offered by that carrier (Radnofsky, 6/18).

CQ Healthbeat: Premium Increases Forecast in 2015 for Health Law Exchange Plans
Monthly premiums for insurance in the new health law marketplaces will rise in eight of nine states studied in a new analysis released Wednesday by the Avalere Health consulting firm. Oregon was the only state to see a decrease. Average prices there will fall by 1.4 percent, or $3 per month. Among the nine states analyzed, Oregon has the lowest premium filed at $197 per month. Oregon’s average costs are lower, too: The average premium for popular silver-tier plans in 2015 will be $272 per month, compared to $466 per month in Vermont, which has the highest average costs (Adams, 6/19).

The Washington Post: Federal Insurance Exchange Subsidies Cut Premiums By Average Of 76%, HHS Reports
The Americans who qualify for tax credits through the new federal insurance exchange are paying an average of $82 a month in premiums for their coverage — about one-fourth the bill they would have faced without such financial help, according to a new government analysis. But the analysis shows wide variations among states in the premiums that people are paying for their new insurance, the amount the government is picking up and the proportion who qualify for the subsidies (Goldstein, 6/18).

The Associated Press: Delaware Subsidized Premiums Among Highest
Federal officials say Delawareans who are getting subsidies for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act are getting an average monthly tax credit of $263. But figures released Wednesday also show that the 81 percent of enrollees in Delaware’s health insurance exchange are paying the third-highest average monthly premium in the country after tax credits are figured in (6/18).

Bridge Magazine: Obamacare Booms In Michigan, But Differences In Rates Raises New Questions
A few months into a critical phase of its rollout, the Affordable Care Act is on track to meet or exceed forecasts on two fronts in Michigan, enrolling residents in the individual marketplace and expanding Medicaid. If experts are right, it could cut the uninsured in Michigan in half by 2019. But on a third front – the insurance market competition – it might need a checkup. Rates in these rural counties are among the highest in the state, according to analysis by the Ann Arbor-based Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT), a nonprofit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (Roelofs, 6/18).

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