August 5, 2015


Affordable Care costs may rise in N.J. (LINDY WASHBURN, 8/03/15, THE RECORD)

Requested premium increases in 10 other states and the District of Columbia, where more complete information is already available, have been modest, though higher than they were for 2015, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit that analyzes health care issues.

Some of these states -- which run their own marketplaces instead of relying on, as New Jersey does -- actively negotiate with insurers to secure lower rates for their residents.

Here, it's still too early to tell what the big picture ultimately will be.

The proposed rate hikes are being reviewed by state insurance regulators, and the numbers "will not be finalized and publicly available until November," said Marshall McKnight, an insurance department spokesman. That's when the third open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act -- lasting three months, through the end of January -- begins.

The review by state regulators is intended to assure that the proposed rates are reasonable, based on accurate assumptions about trends in the cost of medical care, and that they comply with the law. For example, insurance companies are required to spend 80 cents of every premium dollar on health care and quality improvement.

Consumers who are willing to shop around and switch from one insurance company to another still may be able to hold the line on price increases.

"Marketplace consumers are price sensitive and shop for the best deal," said Meena Se­sha­ma­ni, director of the office of health reform of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Nationwide, she said, "29 percent of those who reenrolled for 2015 shopped and chose different plans."

Posted by at August 5, 2015 12:00 PM

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