The Big Question For Health Exchanges: How Much Will Plans Cost?
Stateline examines the factors that affect pricing on the online marketplaces. News outlets also report on recent developments in California and Washington, D.C.
Stateline: Q&A: Will Consumers Find Bargains On Health Insurance Exchanges
Consumers want to know: Will health insurance cost more, less, or about the same on the new health insurance exchanges? Politicians, for their own reasons, have the same question about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on insurance in 2014. California recently announced the prices of plans that have been approved for the exchange. Surprising to many, the 2014 rates are substantially lower than comparable plans on the market today, according to Covered California, which runs the exchange (Vestal, 6/5).
The Washington Post: D.C. Council Backs Small-Business Health Exchange Mandate
The D.C. Council has voted to put the District on a path toward becoming one of the few places to require small-business owners to purchase employee health insurance through a government-run exchange. The mandate has been controversial, generating strong opinions pro and con among business and activist groups, but the council voted unanimously Tuesday on a package of temporary exchange legislation, with little debate over the wisdom of the mandate (DeBonis, 6/4).
Sacramento Bee: Geography Affects Premiums On California Health Insurance Exchange
For the same health coverage from the same insurer, a 40-year-old Sacramentan will pay $78 more per month than a Los Angeles County resident through the state's new insurance exchange. In rural Mono County, the disparity will be even larger: $150 per month, nearly 60 percent higher than for identical benefits and co-pays offered in Los Angeles County. (Sanders, 6/5).
In related news, Maryland's attorney general is urging the state's regulators to cap any insurance increases of more than 5 percent --
The Associated Press: Md. Attorney General Requests Freeze On Health Insurance Rates Above 5 Percent
Attorney General Doug Gansler is urging Maryland insurance regulators to freeze any health insurance rate increases above 5 percent. Gansler made the request to the Maryland Insurance Administration on Tuesday (6/4).
Baltimore Sun: Gansler Seeks Cap On Health Insurance Rate Increases
Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler urged state regulators Tuesday to cap the amount that insurers can raise premiums under the new health care law to no more than 5 percent until more is known about how the sweeping federal legislation will affect health costs. The call comes as the Maryland Insurance Administration reviews requests by insurers to raise rates on those who will buy coverage from a statewide exchange, or open marketplace, established under the Affordable Care Act (Walker, 6/4).