Analysis: Insurers asking for 24 percent hike in premiums on ACA-compliant plans

Insurance companies offering coverage on the individual market have requested a 24 percent average increase in premiums for 2017, according to a new analysis.

Independent analyst Charles Gaba, who tracks rate requests on ACASignups.net, collected the numbers from insurers in all 50 states, including plans that are compliant with the Affordable Care Act both on and off the health insurance exchanges. The average has actually ticked up 0.6 percent due to change in rate requests in several states.

For example, The Tennessean reported two major insurers are asking for dramatically higher rates, with Cigna requesting a 46 percent average increase, up from 23 percent, and Humana asking for a 44 percent increase, up from 29 percent.

Tennessee nearly had the highest requested rate increase in the country, at a weighted average of 59 percent, second only to Arizona’s 68.1 percent average requested hike.

Most states, including California, have companies seeking double-digit increases in rates for 2017. Insurers have requested single-digit hikes in only five states and the District of Columbia. Rhode Island’s request was the lowest, with companies asking for a 3.6 percent increase.

Gaba’s latest analysis included the approved rate increases from five states: Mississippi, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Combined, the weighted average of those approved rates amounts to a 17 percent increase in premiums in those states, though Gaba cautioned that data isn’t representative of what the approved increases will be nationwide.

“Of course, several of these states are pretty small; combined, all five only make up around 6.3 percent of the total population,” Gaba wrote. “The numbers will no doubt jump around quite a bit as additional, larger states are plugged into the mix.”

HHS will have to approve the rate hikes by the end of September, before the next open enrollment period begins on Nov. 1.