Premiums grew average of 10% before reform


Premiums grew by 10 percent or more each year during the pre-Affordable Care Act period of 2008 through 2010, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. In 2008, premiums increased by 9.9 percent, followed by 10.8 percent in 2009 and 11.7 percent in 2010.

The researchers collected rate change filings for the individual market in 30 states and found some variation across states. In 2008, Iowa saw an increase of 2.8 percent, while Wisconsin experienced an increase of 14.7 percent. In 2009, rates increased by 4.1 percent in New Jersey and 20.1 percent in Connecticut. In 2010, Idaho saw a 3.0 percent increase while Nebraska saw a 21.8 percent boost.

"These findings provide a benchmark to compare future trends against to help determine if the Affordable Care Act is achieving one of its major goals and that is to provide comprehensive health insurance to nearly all Americans at a price they can afford," David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, told The Hill.

Looking ahead to next enrollment period, states are expected to release premium rates this summer. Many actuaries predict the rates will depend on the market and the specific insurance company. But certain trends will lead to higher premiums, including the reform tax on insurers and lower funds available for the law's reinsurance protection, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

The data reflecting the time prior to ACA implementation sets the stage for what's at stake for next year's premiums, the researchers suggest.

"The big advantage of the ACA is that there will now be data available on what rates actually are for all the states," Blumenthal said. "From 2014 to 2015 for the first time ever we'll have a comprehensive look at how are rates growing in this market."

For more:
- here's the report (.pdf)
- read The Hill article

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