California state insurance commissioner Dave Jones recently released an analysis – conducted in response to complaints regarding steep increases in health insurance rates – that compared 2013 and 2014 health insurance plan rates. The analysis found the average rate increases for people who had insurance in 2013 and bought 2014 coverage were between 22 and 88 percent, according Cal Watchdog.
Those with incomes that were low enough received premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. But many Californians whose incomes were not low enough received a major rate increase, Jones said.
“What the department found was that in many cases those purchasing 2014 coverage were paying significantly higher rates than what they had paid in 2013 and the beneficial differences in policies was minimal and therefore could not be justification for the significant rate increases,” said Janice Rocco, the deputy commissioner over health policy for the California Department of Insurance.
Moreover, significant annual hikes are expected in the years ahead.
Stephen Parente, a professor of health finance and the associate dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, said these sharp premium hikes are just the beginning for Californians who don’t qualify for the Affordable Care Act.
“The increases will be above 3-4 percent a year and will probably average 6-8 percent on average over the next 20 years,” Parente said. “There will be a spike, unless the Obama administration changes its policies, in 2017, reports CW.
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