Breaking ACA data!!

First let’s be clear: this data describes state-run health insurance marketplaces. It describes plans available through those marketplaces. It does not describe group or employer health insurance plans. But, we (or at least I) can assume that there might be a trend worth following. This is the first year where we get a preliminary look at whether the ACA might push premiums down (and I mean relatively–remember most if not all plans were going up by many percentage points year over year before the marketplace).

Modest Premium Changes Ahead in Health Insurance Marketplaces in Washington State and Maryland – The Commonwealth Fund.

Maryland and Washington (state) are two early reporters, and for the benchmark “middle of the road” silver plan premiums for singles, couples, or families are up by less than 1% in MD or 3% in WA. Singles silver plans are down by 1-2% in both states.

Now it is a little apples-to-oranges to make this comparison, and obvi I am using the same foundation to grab it, but I have to stress that pre-ACA premiums were rising at a crazy rate year over year. This report  (Interactive wow I’d insert it but I don’t want any confusion since it is pre-marketplace) maps hows the increase in employer-sponsored premiums related to percentage of household income 2003-2011. In my home state of VA premiums increased 62% (family) and 49% (individual). Ouchie. Overlay a chart of my increasing depression and you’ve got near identical data.

LAST POINT: for everyone who banking on capitalism to bring prices down (god forbid you bring this up on a long car trip with me), per this report here’s a tasty lick:

One factor behind these modest premium increases may be that new carriers entered the marketplaces in both states, fueling competition among plans. In Washington, one carrier, Moda Health, entered the market, and two, BridgeSpan and  Coordinated Care, increased their plan offerings more than threefold. On the whole, the number of silver and gold plans offered nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015. In Maryland, three carriers—Cigna, United Healthcare, and Carefirst (GMSHI)—entered the marketplace.

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