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Signs point to rise in premiums for benchmark silver plans

Kaiser Family Foundation analyzes proposed rate increases from 11 cities

The proposed cost of a benchmark silver plan is, on average, 4.4 percent higher in 2016 than in 2015, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

The brief analyzed individual market insurers' plans for 2016 rate increases in major cities in 10 states and the District of Columbia. 

Amoing the KFF findings:

  • As they stand now, benchmark premium changes for 2016 vary across the 11 locations: Seattle, Washington would see a decrease of 10.1 percent while Portland, Oregon could face a 16.2 percent increase.
  • Premiums vary for the lowest-cost silver plan. Seattle reported a decrease of 4.2 percent while Richmond, Virginia, posted an increase of 19 percent.
  • The New York market has the most insurers with 16, while Vermont has the fewest, with two.

KFF notes several factors that impact premium changes, including a state's risk pool, enrollment growth and risk adjustment, reinsurance and risk corridors programs. Healthy employees who move from grandmothered plans--those plans purchased after ACA was signed into law but before most ACA regulations went into effect--to new plans also affect premiums.

In past years, rates have dropped substantially from the time they are proposed to the time they are set. Over time, premiums most likely will level out as insurers gain more access to data and consumer information.

For more:
- here's the KFF analysis

Related Articles:
Why 2016 is the year for steep premium increases
Insurers propose steep rate increases for 2016
Insurers' 2016 rates will remain unknown for months