Insurers raise 2015 premiums to make up for under-priced exchange plans last year


Insurers have increased premiums for the most popular plans sold on the health insurance exchanges after under-pricing the policies last year.

A new report from Avalere Health found that the average price for the 2015 exchange plans is increasing by 10 percent. The consulting firm analyzed the monthly price of the lowest-cost silver plan, which was the most commonly selected policy, in marketplaces across the country.

"This is a competitive market dynamic and many plans that priced attractively last year are playing catch-up for 2015," Avalere CEO Dan Mendelson said in the analysis.

Indeed, exchange shoppers will have more choices this enrollment period and premiums for a typical, existing platinum plan rose 15 percent.

Since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is automatically re-enrolling consumers this season, almost 30 percent of all exchange enrollees who opted for the lowest cost silver plan will be paying more next year if they re-enroll in the same plans.

"Consumers who return to to shop will find lower-cost alternatives available," said Avalere Health Director Elizabeth Carpenter. "However, based on experience from other markets, we expect that many people will not return to the exchange website and will remain in the same plan."

That means the premium increases will likely lead to more out-of-pocket costs for consumers. But the trend toward greater consumer cost-sharing is prompting many Americans to skip preventive tests and care that could prevent more expensive chronic conditions in the future.

To learn more:
- here's the Avalere analysis

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