An updated analysis from Avalere finds 2017 premium increases continue to vary significantly by geography as more states publish their proposed rates for individual market exchange plans. Requested premium increases for average silver plans is 11 percent, but consumers can limit cost increases by selecting lower cost silver plans, which are set to increase only 8 percent. The analysis has been updated to include 14 states where complete data are available. Avalere’s previous analysis of proposed rates in nine states found similar results.
Consistent with the previous analysis, changes in premiums vary widely across states. Average proposed premiums for the lowest cost silver plans are decreasing in Washington and Rhode Island, while those lowest cost silver plans in Connecticut, DC, and Oregon will increase more than 15 percent. Notably, Rhode Island is the only state experiencing a decrease in the average proposed silver premiums. That decrease is primarily a result of one of the state’s highest cost issuers exiting the market for 2017, and one of its remaining issuers offering lower cost options. Avalere experts suggest that lower-than-expected exchange enrollment, higher healthcare costs among enrollees, and the end of the reinsurance and risk corridor programs are all likely contributors to premium growth in 2017.
While rates can come down dramatically between proposed and final filings, Avalere analysts say premium increases in 2017 appear to be higher than in 2016. An Avalere analysis conducted at a similar point in the rate filing process in 2016 found much smaller proposed premium increases than the figures included above.
“Exchange consumers have been active shoppers who tend to re-shop each year and gravitate toward lower premium plans,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president at Avalere. “As in previous years, many enrollees will limit their premium increases by selecting plans with smaller premium increases and taking advantage of premium subsidies available in the market.”
Analysis includes final 2016 premiums and proposed 2017 premiums in Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. States were selected based on rate filings available and accessible, through Department of Insurance websites or the System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF), as of July 8, 2016. For the purposes of this analysis, average premiums are not weighted by exchange enrollment in a given rating region or state. 2016 premium data for federally-facilitated exchange (FFE) states based on the 2016 HHS Individual Market Landscape file, updated as of November 2015. 2016 premium data for Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington were collected from each states’ respective exchange website by Avalere Health, updated as of November 2015. 2017 proposed premiums were collected via rate filings that were publicly available as of July 8, 2016. Per HHS requirements, issuers in each state must uniformly use a set number of geographic rating areas as part of their premium setting. Each state’s market rating areas and methodology for dividing the state into rating areas are subject to variation based on Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), counties, three-digit zip codes, or MSA/non-MSAs. All premiums are for an individual, 50-year-old non-smoker. Proposed 2017 rate filings are currently under review; final approved rates may be different.