New study cites low inflation for health care premiums

A new analysis from HealthPocket Inc. shows that health insurance premiums have remained steady in the lead up to the implementation of highly anticipated mandatory insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Between Feb. 1 and May 1, 2013, health insurance premiums increased by an average of 1.2 percent per plan.


States where plan premiums increased 5 percent or more over this period include Wyoming (7.8 percent), Illinois (7.7 percent), Wisconsin (5.4 percent) and Delaware (5.0 percent).

Lower premium increases are coming in an environment of low overall inflation. They are also welcome news to consumers after a 10-year trend in the employer-sponsored health insurance market where premiums increased 97 percent.

“There is a lot of speculation about what will happen to premiums when the new ACA or Obamacare health plans come out this October. Our first RateWatch report establishes a baseline for health plan premiums during this period of market unpredictability, and we will report on changes as the new ACA health plans are released into the market,” said Bruce Telkamp, chief executive officer of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based HealthPocket. “We want to make sure that consumers have access to timely and unbiased cost information, not just the insurance companies and industry insiders.”

For the time period of this analysis, individual carriers observed to be major contributors to specific state increases include Altius One (Wyoming), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Wisconsin and CoventryOne (Delaware), with rate increases on their marketed plan portfolios ranging from 7 to 16 percent.

The results of the study were based on information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for individual and family health insurance plan markets as reported and verified by the individual insurance carriers.

The report is the first in a series of RateWatch analyses that will look at fluctuations in health insurance premiums quoted in the marketplace for individual and family plans. To compare premiums for health plans in any geographic area, visit HealthPocket’s Plan Comparison Tool at

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