Expect higher health insurance costs

SACRAMENTO, California – After abandoning routine care during the pandemic, Americans are now returning to the offices of many doctors – and that is starting to show in insurance rates across the country.

Health insurers in individual markets in 13 states, including Texas, and Washington, D.C. will raise prices by about 10% next year, according to an analysis of costs by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That’s a big increase after premiums remained flat for several years during the pandemic as insurers seek to reimburse more people through their policies, combined with rising premiums that are driving up prices for almost everything, including health care.

The tree reviews also included Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

“We’re at a risk where people are using health care that they may have stopped in the past,” said Larry Levitt, vice president of health care at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “We have a huge problem right now of people using more and more care and rising costs across the economy.”

In California, state officials announced Tuesday that rates will increase by about 6% next year for the 1.7 million people who buy premiums through Covered California, the health insurance marketplace. That’s a big jump after years of slow declines, with growth averaging around 1% over the past three years.

Greater use of health plans was the main reason for the increase, accounting for four percent, according to Jessica Altman, director of Covered California.

“That’s the consistent message that other states are seeing as well, even more so than California,” he said.

About 14.5 million people purchased private health care in the public marketplaces this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It’s a small fraction of Americans who have insurance, as about 155 million people get their insurance through employer-sponsored coverage. But Kaiser said the details of the man’s plans are detailed and publicly available.

The annual subscription period during which customers can purchase and purchase 2023 begins this fall. It is the main window every year when people in the private market can buy Learning or change the policy.

How much people will pay for coverage depends on a variety of factors, including where they live and the type of plan they choose.

The increase comes as Congress debates whether to extend financial aid to consumers through the American Rescue Plan – a $1.9 trillion economic package that Congress passed last year to deal with the financial problems caused by the pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan included substantial savings in health insurance premiums for people who purchased coverage through the state marketplaces.

California receives about $1.7 billion a year from the fund to ensure that no one pays more than 8.5% of their take-home income in monthly payments.

If the subsidy ends at the end of this year, nearly 3 million Americans — including 220,000 Californians — could lose coverage because they can no longer afford it, according to an analysis by Covered California.

With no guidance on whether Congress will extend coverage next year, some insurers have resorted to aggressively raising prices in hopes of dropping coverage. Uncertainty accounted for half of California’s 6% increase, Altman said.

California officials have asked Congress to increase financial aid through the American Rescue Plan. In general, the cost of health insurance premiums depends on who is purchasing the service. If people are very sick, the payment is expensive. If more healthy people buy them, the payment will cost less.

Altman said California has been able to keep its rate of growth steady because more healthy people are buying coverage through Covered California than most other states.

He said this is partly due to a California law that imposes taxes on people who refuse to buy health care. But he also said that it is because of subsidies that many people are able to afford it.

Altman said not increasing federal financial aid would hurt some people and “that’s a big consequence that needs to be addressed here.”

“That would be a big step back,” he said.