Average ACA premiums will drop for first time in 2019

Obamacare premiums

Obamacare premiums

The agency stated that it is the first time since 2014 that premiums in any part of the ACA health plan market are projected to decline for consumers. In the 39 states that rely on HealthCare.gov, the monthly premium is dipping by 1.5 percent for 2019 in a tier of coverage that forms the basis for the ACA's federal insurance subsidies, according to federal figures released Tuesday. The drop-which is in double digits in some states-is the first of its kind since the health care law was implemented in 2010, reports Governing. Maine's average premiums will decline from $482 in 2018 to $446 in 2019, still more than $100 per month higher than the $316 in 2017.

From 2017 to 2018, the bench mark rose 37 percent, officials said, and in the prior year it rose 25 percent. Seema Verma, administrator of the Department of Health and Human Services's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, credited the administration for improving the affordability and supply of ACA coverage.

"The prediction was that the offering of short-term plans would have negative impact on the market and increase premiums, but we're not seeing the impact on the market", Verma said.

CMS has announced it expects the average ACA health plan premium to drop by 1.5 percent for healthy consumers that purchase low-priced silver tier plans.

Insurers raised premiums so much a year ago because they were nervous about the prospects for the health insurance marketplace.

State CMS data show, for instance, Alabama's rates increased by 58% in 2017 and almost 20% for 2018, but are now expected to drop by 2.2%. Tennessee likely will see the most dramatic reduction at about 26 percent, while North Dakota will have the largest increase at about 20 percent.

CMS released the figures ahead of the open enrollment season that begins November 1 and will last until December 15 in most states, though places that command their own Obamacare website may give customers more time.

A handful of other states, such as New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, will also see double-digit drops.

For now, it's unclear whether the shift in Obamacare's fortunes will have a huge impact on enrollment, though Ms. Verma said the benchmark decrease "might attract more people to the exchanges".

"Our worry is that the Affordable Care Act continues to be unsustainable over time because it was created to be unsustainable over time, from the very beginning", the Texas Republican said recently.

It also comes during a bitter midterm congressional campaign season in which health care is a central issue following last year's efforts by Republicans to repeal the ACA.

On the call with reporters, Verma also touted the administration's expansion of short-term, limited duration health insurance plans from under three months to up to three years. That being said, although the Trump administration has taken steps to undermine the ACA, some of the administration's actions have promoted stability, Levitt added Thursday.

"This is by no means a celebration", she said, adding "the law needs to change".

This is a national average, and some states are projected to still see their premiums increase. Still, the moderating prices for the most popular coverage will be helpful, in particular, to middle-class Americans - about 1 in 5 ACA customers - whose incomes place them above the threshold for the law's insurance subsidies. Critics have called the insurance "junk plans", and Democrats tried and failed to repeal the rule on Wednesday. About 2 in 5 counties will have one marketplace insurer, compared with more than half last year, as will four states, compared with 10 last year. That green light allows states to help insurers pay for extremely costly patients so that premiums for the overall patient pool can remain relatively modest.

Consumers will get less assistance this fall in shopping for exchange plans. "This should leave no doubt, however, that while some have been publicly accusing us of sabotage, we've been working hard to do everything we can to mitigate the damage caused by Obamacare".