Two New Reports on Cost of Insurance Plans

By Rosana Garcia

3D dollar going downEarlier this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation released two reports on the cost of health insurance premiums—one looking ahead to 2015 premiums in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces and another report looking back on 2014 employer-sponsored health insurance.

Premiums in CT’s exchange are lower for 2015

If you purchased a health plan through the exchange (Access Health CT), Kaiser Family Foundation’s look at premiums for 2015 in state exchanges has good news for you—you may have lower cost options next year.  The report looked at filings at the Connecticut Insurance Department, and compared it with other states that have this information available.

For example, in the Hartford area, for a 40-year-old non-smoker making $30,000 a year, researchers found a:

  • 7% decrease in premium price of the second-lowest cost silver plan before applying subsidies
  • 8% decrease in premium after subsidies

Because premium costs depend on age, where you live and other factors, and subsidies are income-based, every individual case is unique.

While promising, this does mean that it is important for current Access Health CT customers to take advantage of the open enrollment period starting November 15th to compare plans.  Just because some plans are lower in cost for 2015 does not mean that the plan you are currently on will cost less.

Because of the changes in price, the addition of a new insurer to the state exchange (United Healthcare will be offering 2015 plans on Access Health CT) and the increased number of plan options available on the exchange:

  • The Foundation advocates that in-person assistance will be critical this year, to ensure that those that remained uninsured after last year’s enrollment period have access to trusted, community-based, culturally appropriate help
  • Those who enrolled last year are encouraged to shop around to make sure that they are getting the best option for themselves and their family in 2015

To get an idea of what a health plan may cost you in 2015, see the CT Mirror’s interactive calculator on Obamacare insurance costs for next year.

Modest increase in premiums in 2014 for employer-provided health insurance

If you are someone who has an employer-sponsored health plan, a new report found that you probably paid a little more for your plan in 2014.  An employee pays about 18% of the premium for an individual plan and 29% of the premium for a plan that includes family coverage.  Overall, there was a small increase in premium costs and deductibles from 2013 to 2014 for employer-sponsored health plan.  Employees in smaller firms tend to have higher deductibles than those working in larger ones.

While there was not a major shift in premium costs and deductibles from last year, over the past ten years, premiums have increased by 69% and worker contributions to those premiums have increased 81%.  In short, premium costs have slowed, but employees are taking on more and more of the cost of coverage through premium sharing, deductibles and co-pays.

Need a little help with all of the health plan jargon?  The CT Mirror’s Arielle Levin Becker answers many questions at their Guide to Health Care in CT, including defining premium, deductible, co-pay, out-of-pocket maximum, and formulary.

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