If you buy your own health insurance, gird yourself for another round of big premium increases next year.
Health insurance companies have begun submitting requests for rate hikes to state regulators in a handful of states, and it’s not looking pretty based on information that Maryland, Virginia, Oregon and Vermont have already made public. Double-digit premium increases again appear to be on the horizon for many consumers.
And according to what these insurers are telling states, those rate hikes wouldn’t be nearly as big if not for actions President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress have taken.
The biggest change was the repeal of the financial penalty for people who don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Although the mandate may have been less effective than the health law’s authors expected, insurers are nervous that taking away that incentive to get covered will result in fewer healthy customers, meaning less revenue to cover the costs of the sicker people who will remain in the market. That alone will account for 10 percent premium increases overall, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
In addition, the Trump administration is working to relax federal regulations to permit insurance companies to offer policies that don’t abide by the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions and offer skimpier benefits. Insurers are concerned that healthy people will flock to these cheaper products, weakening the precarious balance between healthy and sick people in the exchange markets.In the absence of efforts to undermine the market, we would be seeing a period of relatively small premium increases.Cynthia Cox, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
The combined result of these actions will be much higher health insurance costs in 2019. On average, the new policies Trump and Congress have enacted will add $1,013 to unsubsidized annual premiums next year, an increase of 16.4 percent above what rates would have been, according to an analysis published Frid