Modest Increases in Insurance Premiums, But Shop Around

Margot Sanger-Katz: “Early evidence suggests that competition in the new Affordable Care Act marketplaces is working, at least in some areas. Health insurance premiums in major cities around the country are barely rising.”

“That’s the conclusion of two studies of data about newly public insurance rates. One, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research group, looked at 49 cities and found that prices for a popular type of plan are actually going down, on average. A second, from the actuarial firm Wakely Consulting Group, looked at the largest county in each of the 34 states with marketplaces run by the federal government and found an average rate decrease of one percent.”

“The studies suggest that, in large cities, at least, the new health insurance marketplaces are working as intended: Health insurers, competing for business, are keeping prices low.”

But: “History suggests that a lot of people will avoid shopping again and simply renew their old plans. That will be a mistake.”

Also the New York Times reports that the Obama administration’s new data show that the cost of coverage could increase substantially – as much as 20% – if consumers don’t switch plans.

“Price increases will be modest for many people willing to change plans. In a typical county, the price will rise 5 percent for the cheapest silver plan and 4 percent for the second cheapest.”

Marilyn B. Tavenner of CMS: “With new options available this year, they’re likely to find a better deal.”

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