Forbes, April 7, 2014
Earlier Today I reported that health insurance premiums are showing the sharpest increases perhaps ever according to a survey of brokers who sell coverage in the individual and small group market. Morgan Stanley’s healthcare analysts conducted the proprietary survey of 148 brokers. The April survey shows the largest acceleration in small and individual group rates (for renewing health plans) in any of the 12 prior quarterly periods when the regular analysis has been conducted. The average increases for the present quarter are in excess of 11% in the small group market and 12% in the individual market, where consumers purchase coverage directly from health plans. Some states show increases 10 to 50 times that amount. The analysts conclude that the “increases are largely due to changes under the ACA.” So how do these increases, for the health plans renewing this quarter, compare to rate increases experienced during other quarterly periods over the last four years? The data for the rate increases experienced in the small group and individual insurance markets for the last four years is detailed in the graphics below. They show how the rate hikes have accelerated as Obamacare’s regulations have started to get implemented.