Affordable Care Act customers will see modest rate increases next year

Projected rates in Pennsylvania illustrate 'pretty stable market'

Pat Loeb
July 23, 2018 - 6:21 pm
Alex Lickerman, founder and CEO of ImagineMD, examines patient Emily Golin at the ImagineMD office in downtown Chicago on June 12, 2018.

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Affordable Care Act health insurance market is holding its own in Pennsylvania. Projected rates for next year were released by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, which reported modest increases as more insurers are entering the market.

The Trump administration has done just about all it can to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, but in Pennsylvania, marketplace plans remain competitive with average increases for next year of less than 3 percent. 

In addition, another insurer is joining the local individual market, meaning subscribers will have more choices and comparable prices.

Antoinette Kraus, director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, said some states had double-digit increases due to changes such as eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions and suspending risk adjustment payments. The rate proposals reflect the state's work to stabilize the market, though she said out-of-pocket costs for the insured are still very high.

"We've seen a lot of headlines come out of other states as double-digit increases of upward of 20, 28 percent," she added.

Pennsylvania is projecting increases of 0.7 percent in the individual market and 2.9 percent in the small group market.

Delaware and New Jersey haven't announced proposed rates yet, but their markets have been less stable. Both lost more than 10 percent of subscribers with last year's changes to the program. Pennsylvania lost just 2 percent.

"Last year, Pennsylvania had bigger rate increases due to the uncertainty and the ending of some of the core provisions of the ACA, so we have paid a price for it," Kraus said. "But this year, at least, the rates are the sign of a pretty stable market."

Kraus expects attacks on the ACA to continue.