HHS: Fears Of Double-Digit Premium Hikes For ACA Plans Not Borne Out.
The Hill (4/12, Sullivan) reports that on Tuesday, HHS released data which show Affordable Care Act premiums increased less than anticipated last year, contradicting warnings of greater price hikes. Figures indicate ACA premiums increased by “8 percent on average – from $356 a month to $386 a month – from 2015 to 2016,” and when the ACA “tax credits that help 85 percent of consumers afford their plans are factored in, the average premium increase was even smaller: $102 to $106, or 4 percent.” The article says the data contradict “predictions, often seized on by Republicans, that ObamaCare premiums would spike by double-digit percentages.”
Congressional Quarterly (4/12, Mershon, Subscription Publication) reports the average 4-percent increase is “a much lower rate than some of the double-digit premium hikes insurers initially proposed, when some were asking for rate hikes as high as 35 to 40 percent.” The article says with the release of these data, “Richard Frank, director of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS, is hoping to undercut Republicans’ criticisms early.” He wrote in a blog post on Tuesday, “Marketplace consumers would do well to put little stock in those initial numbers.” Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, “suggested that plans are facing uncertainty in the new marketplaces that can affect premiums.”
The Huffington Post (4/12, Cohn) reports that “by historical standards,” even the 8-percent premium increase is “hardly outrageous,” given that prior to the implementation of the ACA, “the average annual increase for individual coverage was more than 10 percent, according to research by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber and the Commonwealth Fund.”
The Washington Examiner (4/12, King) also covers the story.