SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new analysis from HealthPocket, Inc., shows that health insurance premiums have remained steady in the lead up to the implementation of highly anticipated mandatory insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Between February 1 and May 1, 2013, health insurance premiums increased by an average of 1.2 percent per plan.
States where plan premiums increased 5 percent or more over this period include Wyoming (7.8%), Illinois (7.7%), Wisconsin (5.4%) and Delaware (5.0%). Lower premium increases are coming in an environment of low overall inflation. They are also welcome news to consumers after a ten-year trend in the employer-sponsored health insurance market where premiums increased 97 percent, more than three times as fast as the general rate of inflation from 2002-2012.
While previous HealthPocket analyses and others have demonstrated that the cost of premiums is one of the most pressing issues related to health reform for consumers, very little information on this topic and associated trends has been made available to the public. To fill this gap in consumer knowledge, HealthPocket investigated premium rates for actively-quoted plans in the marketplace.
"There is a lot of speculation about what will happen to premiums when the new ACA or Obamacare health plans come out this October. Our first RateWatch report establishes a baseline for health plan premiums during this period of market unpredictability, and we will report on changes as the new ACA health plans are released into the market," said Bruce Telkamp, CEO of HealthPocket. "We want to make sure that consumers have access to timely and unbiased cost information, not just the insurance companies and industry insiders."
Though there is no certainty about what effect the ACA's mandatory coverage provision will have on premiums starting in 2014, this topic has reached a fever pitch in Washington. Some experts say premiums will go up while others say they might decrease. Others say it might be a mixture of both depending on the type of plan and the state in which an enrollee lives. Many agree, however, that the non-employer individual and family markets are likely to undergo some potentially dramatic changes that will likely have some impact on premiums.
For the time period of this analysis, individual carriers observed to be major contributors to specific state increases include Altius One (Wyo.), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (Ill.), Anthem BCBS (Wis.) and CoventryOne (Del.), with rate increases on their marketed plan portfolios ranging from 7 to 16 percent. The results of the study were based on information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for individual and family health insurance plan markets as reported and verified by the individual insurance carriers. The reference dates established for this quarterly comparison are at the start of the second month of each quarter. Approximately 51,200 individual quotes were generated for this study for these two dates.
This report is the first in a series of RateWatch analyses that will look at fluctuations in health insurance premiums quoted in the marketplace for individual and family plans. To compare premiums for health plans in any geographic area, visit HealthPocket's Plan Comparison Tool.
HealthPocket.com is a free website that compares and ranks all health plans available to an individual, family, or small business, so everyone can make their best health plan decision and save on their out-of-pocket costs. The Company uses only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. The founders of HealthPocket.com spent decades pioneering online access to health insurance information and knew they could offer something different that can positively change how people buy and use healthcare in the U.S. Learn more at www.HealthPocket.com.