- Premiums for the ACA's least expensive silver plans--the marketplaces' most popular selections--are expected to increase faster in 2017 than in they did in previous years, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation that examined data from 14 major U.S. cities.
- The plans are expected to go up an average of 10-11% for 2017, compared to a previous average of about 5%.
- The report noted "substantial variation" across markets, with proposed premium changes ranging from a decrease of 13% to an increase of 18%, and added that actual changes will depend upon the results of states’ rate review processes.
While some of the difference is due to the higher-than-expected costs of ACA plan enrollees, 2017 will also be different because it marks the end of the ACA reinsurance program, which has kept premiums at bay by 4-6%, according to lead study researcher Cynthia Cox.
The Kaiser Family Foundation analysis looked at insurers proposed rates in states where complete information was available. It noted that aside from the remaining uncertainty around what final rates will be decided, the majority of consumers are expected to see a limited impact from the increases due to premium subsidies or their ability to shop around for more cost-efective plans.
Aside from rate changes, the study looked at insurer marketplace participation for 2017. It concluded some states will see lower participation than they did this year, but on average, participation in the 14 analyzed markets will be similar to what it was in 2014. Half of those markets expect to see steady or increased participation while half will see a decrease in participation--with many of those cases a result of the exit of UnitedHealth.