WA, OR premium rates fluctuate before 2015 open enrollment

In close proximity to open enrollment on Nov. 15th, many exchange customers are wondering what they will be paying in the second year of the Affordable Care Act.

According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, insurance premiums for silver plan customers will decrease at an average -0.8% overall throughout 15 analyzed cities. The report analyzed the change in premiums for the lowest-cost option available in each state. However, in both Washington and Oregon the changes look much different than the national average.

In Washington State premiums for silver plan customers will decrease -9.8% in the study’s rating area (Seattle). The nearly -10% decrease in price is accompanied by 4 additional participating insurers in the exchange. The decrease may be partially the result of increased competition among insurance providers and less uncertainty with almost a year of the Affordable Care Act in the rearview.

Oregon customers purchasing the silver plan can expect a rate increase for insurance premiums throughout 2015. Their premiums will increase by 6.1% to an average of $175. Oregon’s exchange rollout was largely unsuccessful, now the state is using a federal exchange platform instead of its own failed state-based platform.

Double digit premium increases in this market were not uncommon in the past,” noted Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, in a press release. “There is variation, but so far, premium increases in year two of the Affordable Care Act are generally modest.”

None of the 15 states analyzed by the Foundation had double digit premium increases for 2015.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services reports that most marketplace enrollees (60%) choose silver plans, while around 20% choose bronze. The lowest-cost option for bronze plan customers in Washington is provided through Coordinated Care. In 2015 bronze customers will pay higher premiums; 4.3% more, or $194.

View the report in its entirety here.