Two new reports show modest increases for average premiums on the health insurance exchanges next year. Another piece of good news: Insurers are expanding in new markets.
New reports indicate that average premiums will go up in 2019, but not as much as they have in previous years.
ACASignups.net reports that the average price of a 2019 policy will increase 3.69%. The analysis, conducted by Charles Gaba, who has been live-tracking health insurance enrollments since the exchanges launched in October 2013, assumes that all current enrollees will continue in current plans.
Gaba’s report indicates that a handful of states will see rate hikes in the double digits. For example, Washington is expected to see a 19.8% increase in premium prices, according to the analysis. But some states will see premium prices drop dramatically. Gaba expects New Hampshire to see a 13% decrease and Tennessee premium prices will drop by roughly 10.8%.
A second report, compiled by the Associated Press and consulting firm Avalere Health, came to similar conclusions. The AP noted another piece of good news: 19 states will see new insurers or existing insurers expand into more areas.
Katherine Hempstead, a senior policy adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told National Public Radio that the expansion of offerings is a sign that the market is maturing. "After a very ... tortured birth and infancy, it sort of seems like the market is in some ways at a very stable place right now," she says.
However, Gaba told NPR that the market would be doing better if the Trump administration hadn’t taken actions to undermine the Affordable Care Act, such as eliminating the tax penalty for those who don’t buy insurance, which has meant that young, healthy people are exiting the ACA Market.
"The reality is that if you didn't have those factors, if you didn't have the expansion of short-term plans, and especially the repeal of the mandate penalty for next year, average premiums would most likely be dropping by a good 4 or 5%," he says.
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