Rate increases anticipated for insurance companies on the ACA exchange

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SALT LAKE CITY -- At least 140,000 Utahns will not like this story very much.

That's a rough estimate of the number of Utahns getting insurance on the Affordable Care Act federal insurance exchange.

The insurance companies offering plans on the exchange are required to tell the state Insurance Department about their rate changes in late spring.

As the rates came in, it became obvious that rates are going up across the board.

The biggest insurer, SelectHealth reported an average increase of 15.9 percent for their 88,613 clients.

That was the smallest increase.

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield rates would go up 17.2 percent, Bridgespan, 19.2 percent, Humana 20.2 and Altius 18.11 percent.

Assistant Insurance Commissioner Tanji Northrup said they knew the increase was coming, and the state will look at it closely.

"We want to make sure we have healthy insurers who are able to pay the claims that the individuals will be submitting. But there are some significant increases out there," Northrup said.

But health policy advocate Jason Stevenson with the Utah Health Policy Project hopes the state review forces the increases lower because the companies can draw from a federal fund if they lose money.

"It might be a little challenging for them to justify these rate increases," Stevenson said.

Stevenson added that 88 percent of Utahns with plans on the exchange receive federal subsidies, and those subsidies will soften the blow of any rate increases.

3 comments

  • bob

    LOL! Suckers.

    The ACA doesn’t eliminate insurance companies OR expensive health care. It ADDS a huge, expensive bureaucracy. It amazes me that anyone would expect that to result in cheaper health care.

    But there is no shortage of stupidity, it seems.

  • UHPP

    How do premium subsidies lower the cost of health insurance? If you live in Utah and earn between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (about $20,0000 to $80.000 a year for a family of three), you can qualify for subsidies to reduce your monthly health insurance premiums. These subsidies are designed to mimic the tax-free payments that most employers use to subsidize health insurance for their workers. If your monthly premium is $400 a month and your family of three earns $38,000 a year, you could get a $221/month subsidy to reduce your insurance cost to $180/month. Plus, this health plan has a $500 deductible and a $10 primary care doctor co-pay. Find out more by contacting Take Care Utah–our state’s network of free, nonprofit experts–at http://www.takecareutah.org, or by calling 2-1-1.
    -UHPP

  • Fritz Brockman

    Are these insurers utterly incompetent, incapable of estimating what their charges will be for consecutive years?

    Or are they so evil that they undercharge to get customers, knowing that their insureds will find it difficult to switch their insurance companies due to existing conditions, more paperwork, waiting periods, etc.

    In any case these outrageous price increases only force people to go with out health insurance.

    In any case, the public must demand that healthcare providers and insurance companies stop any price increases that are above the basic cost of living increases.

    Do the math. If people’s wages go up 2% annually and their insurance increases 22%, how long are those numbers be sustainable?

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