Double Digit Premium Increases Coming in Some States

The Fiscal Times

Insurance companies are beginning to submit their proposed premium rates for next year – and so far, it looks like a mixed bag, with gradual and expected increases in some states, but dramatic hikes in others.

The latest submissions come out of Arizona, where major insurers have proposed rate increases from 14.4 percent from Cigna, to 25.5 percent from Humana, The Arizona Republic reported.

Related: Big Increases in Obamacare Premiums and Deductibles Coming in November

Meanwhile, two of the three insurers selling plans through the Connecticut state exchange – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and ConnecticCare Benefit – proposed to raise rates by at least 10 percent, The Connecticut Mirror reported. The third, HealthyCT, is proposing to decrease rates by 8.9 percent.

In Oregon, Moda Health, which dominated the state’s insurance market in the first open enrollment period, also submitted a rate hike – about 12.1 percent higher than its 2014 rates. Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, meanwhile, is seeking an average 5 percent hike and Kaiser Permanente Northwest wants to keep individual rates stable, with a request for a 0.2 percent increase, the Portland Business Journal reported.

Of course, these are only submissions and must still be approved by the state insurance commissions. Finalized rates won’t be set until the fall.

Related: Insurers on Obamacare: Expect Premiums to Soar

Earlier this year, many health experts were speculating whether insurance rates would skyrocket or gradually increase. Some of the largest insurers said in March they expected to raise rates – in some cases three times as high as this year.

Others expect only gradual increases, similar to previous years. As with real estate, it all depends on location, location, location.  

Depending on market size and competition, the price of premiums varies greatly from region to region. An earlier analysis from Kaiser Health News reviewed premium prices in each region of the country and found that rates in rural Southern Georgia were an average $461 per year on the cheapest silver plan. In contrast, rates in Pittsburgh – a large, competitive market – were an average $164 for a similar plan.

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