Obamacare Health Insurance Premiums Expected To Increase By Average Of 7.5 Percent; Kaiser Lowering Rates In California

As the data comes in, we are seeing that another of the scare stories about Obamacare isn’t coming true. For example, there was a report in March claiming rates would sky rocket which many lazy journalists repeated despite it originating from a story with no sources, written by someone who had interned at The National Review. The same writer at The Hill now says that premiums will increase an average of 7.5 percent. In the past, double digit increases were common on the individual market.

I previously reported on predictions that premiums in California would increase by an average of 4.2 percent. We now have more detailed data from the major California insurance companies. Last year Kaiser set their rates higher than the competition and suffered by coming in fourth place in exchange enrollment. In response, and in hopes of increasing their market share, they plan a 1.4 percent decrease next year. Anthem Blue Cross, which received the most subscribers in the exchanges, plans an increase of 4.6 percent. The next two largest insurers of exchange plans, Blue Shield of California and Health Net, plan increases of 6 percent and 4.9 percent.

Kaiser is not expected to significantly increase market share due to continuing to have rates higher than the competition. For example, here is a comparison in Los Angeles:

In region 15, for a 40-year-old buying a silver plan this year, Kaiser was the highest-priced coverage at $297 a month. That’s before any federal premium subsidies based on a person’s income.

In 2015, that same silver plan would cost $287 from Kaiser. That’s still the second-highest price in L.A. behind an Anthem exclusive-provider-organization, or EPO, plan.

Next year, Health Net’s HMO remains the cheapest coverage on the silver tier in L.A. at $231 a month for a 40-year-old, up $7 from this year’s premium.

Those low rates made Health Net the market leader in L.A. with 33% market share, beating out Blue Shield and Anthem.

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