In Second Year Of Marketplaces New Entrants ACA Co-Ops And Medicaid Plans Restrain Average Premium Growth Rates
Author: Jon R. Gabel, Heidi Whitmore, Matthew Green, Sam T. Stromberg, Daniel S. Weinstein, Rebecca Oran
Premiums for health insurance plans offered through the federally facilitated and state-based Marketplaces remained steady or increased only modestly from 2014 to 2015. We used data from the Marketplaces, state insurance departments, and insurer websites to examine patterns of premium pricing and the factors behind these patterns. Our data came from 2,964 unique plans offered in 2014 and 4,153 unique plans offered in 2015 in forty-nine states and the District of Columbia. Using descriptive and multivariate analysis, we found that the addition of a carrier in a rating area lowered average premiums for the two lowest-cost silver plans and the lowest-cost bronze plan by 2.2 percent. When all plans in a rating area were included, an additional carrier was associated with an average decline in premiums of 1.4 percent. Plans in the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Program and Medicaid managed care plans had lower premiums and average premium increases than national commercial and Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. On average, premiums fell by an appreciably larger amount for catastrophic and bronze plans than for gold plans, and premiums for platinum plans increased. This trend of low premium increases overall is unlikely to continue, however, as insurers are faced with mounting medical claims.