The bad news is already arriving for 2016, many insurance companies are requesting double digit rate increases. Anything over 10% must be disclosed to the Department of Health and Human Services. In my state one plan is expected to go up more than 32%. The site where the public can look up this information says that Blue Cross of Nebraska wants an avg of 14.8% increase for all ACA compliant plans beginning Jan 1, 2016. Ok, so for those of you keeping track, the gold level plan for my family in 2014 was $1250 and went up to $1450ish for 2015. Another 14.8% would be $1664/month for gold plan insurance (semi-reasonable deductible) for my family of 4. That is just flat unbelievable.
You can look up your proposed rate hikes at this website: http://ratereview.healthcare.gov
News articles I’m reading indicate that insurance companies like to have 2 years of data in order to determine rates for the upcoming year. Because of the newness of residents being required to have insurance plans or pay a penalty, this is the first time insurance companies have had one full year’s worth of data much less the 2 years they like. Reasons for the increase are cited as being increased use of ERs, higher drug costs, and general greater use of services, especially heart and cancer treatments.
We should all have a pretty clear picture by October what the new rates will be, and open enrollment begins again Nov 15. The Supreme Court will also be weighing in sometime this month regarding subsidies. It all points to a pretty expensive 2016 for health insurance premiums and likely even higher deductibles for families trying to keep costs manageable.
Of course I still firmly stand by the solution offered by health care sharing ministries. Samaritan offers us monthly costs which are drastically lower, none of this crazy high deductible nonsense, and they not only have very infrequent rate increases, but they also reduce our monthly share amount when there are excess funds!! Ministry members have a vested interest in keeping costs down, and all members benefit as a result. So while insurance companies struggle with rising costs and burdensome usage, ministries are doing an excellent job of keeping costs under control and even giving back to members.
These sure are interesting times.