Insurers Seeking Big Premium Hikes For 2016 ACA Plans

July 6, 2015

The New York Times (Pear, 7/4, subscription publication) reported that according to Federal and state documents, "health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more" in 2016, claiming their new Affordable Care Act (ACA) customers are "sicker than expected." The proposed rate increases "are the first to reflect a full year of experience with the new insurance exchanges and federal standards" and they "suggest that insurance markets are still adjusting to shock waves set off by the Affordable Care Act." In response to the premium hikes, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell "said that federal subsidies would soften the impact of any rate increases." In an interview, Burwell encouraged customers to "try to find less expensive plans in the open enrollment period that begins in November." She stated: "You have a marketplace where there is competition and people can shop for the plan that best meets their needs in terms of quality and price."
        The Wall Street Journal (Radnofsky, 7/3, subscription publication) also reported on premium rate increases. Radnofsky focused on Oregon Insurance Commissioner Laura Cali's approval of premium increases for insurers offering 2016 ACA plans in order to ensure that plans stay afloat. Cali approved an average 25.6 percent increase for Moda Health Plan Inc., the state's largest exchange insurer, and also approved average increases of 30 percent or more for four smaller carriers.