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2017 Covered California Rates Surge
2017 Covered California rates surge 13.2%. The health insurance marketplace, where California residents can go to shop for coverage and possibly receive premium assistance, will end it’s two year run sans a double digit rate increase. Furthermore, the sharp increase will likely play a significant role during this year’s upcoming presidential election.

The Reason

The spike in Covered California rates was driven by its two largest insurers, Blue Shield of California & Anthem Blue Cross. Blue Shield of California said its average hike was 19.9%, the biggest statewide increase. Meanwhile, Anthem Blue Cross averaged an increase of 17.2%. Together, the insurance carriers account for roughly half of Covered California’s enrollment. Peter Lee, Covered California’s executive director, said prices for 2017 reflect the rising cost of care, not efforts by insurers to increase their profits. Furthermore, proponents of Obamacare will argue that federal subsidies spare most consumers from the full impact of the premium increases.

Additionally, lenient rules for special enrollments are partially responsible for the leap in rates. The designated signup period outside of open enrollment have allowed some people to enroll only until they needed care. Insurers complain these people tend to generate more claims and higher costs.

The Silver Lining

Premium increases in California will vary widely by region and by insurance company. It could, however, force cost-conscious consumers to move to lower metal-tier plans.

Minus One

Lastly, Covered California announced United Health Group would be leaving the exchange after just one year. The nation’s largest health insurer posted significant losses in the individual market.

Below is the tentative list of insurance carriers selected for the 2017 exchange:

  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Blue Shield of CA
  • Chinese Community Health Plan
  • Health Net
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • L.A. Care Health Plan
  • Molina Healthcare
  • Sharp Health Plan
  • Oscar Health Plan of California
  • Valley Health Plan
  • Western Health Advantage

Source: Kaiser Health News

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