2 Years After ACA: How Health Insurance Premium Rates Have Changed In Georgia

Given the steep rise over the past couple of decades, the cost of health insurance has become an important aspect of health delivery and health policy.

Nationwide, Premiums Are Flat

In 2015, annual premiums edged beyond $16,800 for a medium family due to the rising under-insurance and uninsured. These rising costs mostly affects employers especially for those Americans who are fully-covered.

Kaiser health insurance premium study 2014 cover

A Kaiser analysis of the ACA health insurance costs found that, in the entire nation, marketplace premiums didn’t move upwards between 2014 to 2015. However, there were little average premium declines in some states and increases in others.

In comparison with the historical trends in the employer-based health insurance and the individual insurance, the 0% change in the cost of health insurance premiums is unprecedented. Before the passage of the ACA, from 2008 to 2010, premiums increased at an average of 10% or more per year in the insurance market of every state. For instance, from 2004 to 2009, the cost increased by 34 percent and 72 percent from 1999 to 2004.

The employer cost distributions for employees in the private sector who enrolled in single coverage in Georgia increased from 3,189 dollars in the year 2008 to 3,821 dollars in average in the year 2010. The cost increase was even higher for those enrolled in family coverage as it hiked from $ 7,845 to $ 9412 from the year 2008 to 2010 in the same state. The increase in the health insurance premiums during these years was considerably higher than the one witnessed from the year 2014 to 2015.

Premiums are also rising at a slower rate for small employers. For businesses with 200 employees or more, the 2014 health insurance premiums were $17,265 on average, which was 3.3% higher than in 2013. At institutions with three to 199 employees, yearly premiums in the year 2014 averaged at $15,849. The stated figure was only 1.7% greater than in 2013, when the average health insurance premiums were 2.2% more than in 2012. According to the Kaiser report, premiums are not rising faster in the smallest businesses, like those with 50 or fewer employees.

Various factors result in the stability of this year’s premiums in the marketplace. The most important three factors are: an increment in the number of insurance carriers; programs that stabilize the risk for the participating insurers; and the design of the marketplaces.

In addition to the average premiums not rising faster like before, the premiums also differ less from institution to institution. Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, the premiums were based according to the age and the health of employees. Companies with healthier and younger employees could pay significantly less. By barring this practice and tightening age-based rate-setting, the act slightly increased costs for those companies. If a small business employs ten young and healthy workers, it’s possible that the premium the business pays have risen considerably. As a result, the company ends up paying almost the same amount to another company hiring ten employees of an older age.

Georgia Follows The Nation

In Georgia, the percentage premiums increase from 2014 to 2015 was one percent for all plans and negative one percent for Silver plan. The 2015 premiums for a forty-year-old nonsmoker in Georgia are as follows: $ 208 for Catastrophic; $247 for Bronze; Silver goes for $307; Gold for $365; and Platinum for $443.

The average premiums for the benchmark plan used for the calculation of the federal subsidy in a particular state remained stagnant.

In Georgia, there was a 2 percent increase in the premium for the benchmark silver plan in both urban and suburban areas between 2014 and 2015. The change in rural areas was negative eleven percent, and the statewide average change was 1 percent.

For a forty-year-old nonsmoker, the average premium for the benchmark silver plan is $ 255 in urban areas, $260 in suburban areas and $280 in rural areas. There was also a slight increase of 1% in the average deductible for a plan in the marketplace.

So far, the Affordable Care Act doesn’t appear to be driving up the cost of health insurance premiums in Georgia or in the country at large.

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