Large Increases in Low Cost Silver Plan Premiums for 2017

Premiums for lowest-cost and second-lowest cost silver plans are expected to increase significantly for next year’s Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

A recent analysis found that there will likely be significant premium increases for the lowest- and second-lowest costing silver plans in Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces in major cities around the country.

In the study, published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, researchers included the proposed increases for insurers in the major cities of 13 states and the District of Columbia. The researchers used data available from premium requests to calculate a 40-year-old person’s premium.

Investigators found that the premiums are increasing more rapidly than they have in the past. The second-lowest silver plan will increase by approximately 10% in these cities, whereas these plans only increased by 5% in 2016, according to the study.

The researchers did find, however, that 2 cities had decreases in their insurance premiums for the lowest-cost silver plans. Insurers in Providence, RI filed for a 14% decrease in premium cost. In 2016, they had a 6% increase in premium costs.

Insurers in Indianapolis, IN had a 10% decrease in premium cost for 2016, but their insurers only requested a 1% decrease. Washington, DC insurers requested a premium increase of 21%. However, these insurers also had a 4% decrease in premiums for 2016.

For the second-lowest silver plans, insurers in Providence and Indianapolis also decreased their premiums by 13% and 4%, respectively. Portland, OR, once again, proposed the highest premium increase of 18%, but this proposed increase is still less than the 23% jump seen in 2016.

Researchers said it is expected that many enrollees will shop around for plans to find lower premiums. Switching insurers could involve switching doctors, as well.

It was also found that participation in these marketplaces decreased for half of the states, likely due to UnitedHealth’s withdrawal, while the other half are predicted to remain the same or even increase, according to the study.

Though almost all insurers included in the study have proposed significant increases, these proposals are still preliminary and could be lowered through the states’ rate review processes, the study concluded.