Alison Kodjar reported in this
Health News From NPR
on September 3 that health premiums for ACA plans will stabilize for 2019 and that consumers will be pleasantly surprised.
Final approvals from State Insurance Commissions (which in most cases must approve premium increases) have not yet occurred, but Florida Blue, for instance, estimates that their gross annual premium increase (excluding tax subsidies) will be 4% next year. They also estimate that rate increases from their largest competitors will be between 8 and 16%. This is considerably less than in any year since 2014 when ACA-qualified plans were first introduced.
Carriers are beginning to understand how they can make money by offering ACA plans, and new carriers (e.g. Oscar in Central Florida) are starting to enter the market. Centene (Ambetter) is also expanding coverage in some Central Florida locations. New and existing carriers are starting to offer coverage in other states next year, as well, as indicated in Kodjar’s article.
I personally had expected premiums to increase significantly more. The reason they didn’t in Florida was because the Insurance Commission required carriers to increase premiums over 30% last year in response to the Federal Government’s decision not to fund Cost Share Reduction plans.
Kodjar’s article contends that ACA premiums would actually have decreased next year had legislation not been passed to eliminate the tax penalty for not having an ACA plan. (Actually the law still includes the tax penalty; the legislation passed to “eliminate” the penalty still contains the penalty but establishes the penalty as zero.)
Florida Blue will be the only carrier to offer PPO plans in Florida, and their “off-exchange” open enrollment will start October 1 and end December 31.
“On-exchange” enrollment will begin November 1 and run only 45 days until December 15 for all carriers.
Renewing plans will be very easy for next year. Clients will be able to utilize a very simple passive renewal process in most cases.
We recommend that individuals who have subsidies update their applications and take appropriate action if they haven’t filed their
2017 tax returns (they won’t be eligible for subsidies unless their return is filed early enough so the Marketplace can verify both tax filing status and income information and can provide applicants with their subsidy information in time for them to make plan elections prior to December 15).
Similarly, individuals who didn't check the box on the application that permits the government to check with the IRS and other agencies for up to five previous years will need to update the box on the application that will permit such checking (or else these people won’t be eligible for subsidies).
Others receiving subsidies should update their applications if they expect their income to change in 2019 or if there are any changes in family status.
Applications should be updated prior to November 15 in order to prevent problems in establishing correct subsidies; call us at
877-734-3884 for help in updating your marketplace application.