Employer Health Insurance Benefits Plan Premiums Rose 4 Percent, Study Finds

The average health insurance premium increase in during the past year is 4% for both single and family coverage, according to the 2015 employer health benefits survey sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The annual single coverage premium is $6,251 while the average family coverage premium is $17,545, the survey found.

Researchers found that the percentage of firms offering health benefits to its employees – 57 percent – as well as the percentage of workers covered at those firms – 63 percent – is statistically unchanged from 2014.

Large employers with 200 or more workers said they have analyzed their health benefits to determine whether they would be subject to the high-cost health plan tax when takes effect in 2018, the study found.

“Some employers are already making changes to their benefit plans in response to the tax,” study researchers said.  Continue reading

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Premiums For 2015 Silver-Level Health Insurance Plans Being Offered at Lower Rates in Many Geographic Areas Than 2014

Consumers in most of the geographic areas studied will be able to obtain 2015 silver-level health plan coverage at lower rates than were available in 2014 or at premium increases of less than 5 percent found a new study by the Urban Institute.

Observers had been concerned that large premium increases might kick in for year two of the ACA health insurance marketplace experience.

Often the researchers found that a different carrier from the 2014 health plan is offering the lowest priced silver option in a rating area for 2015.

The ACA’s incentives, centered on the silver plan premiums in an area, the study report said, resulted in “healthy competition over rates in many markets in 2014, particularly in urban areas. Markets generally saw a large number of competing carriers offering several plans.”

The Urban Institute report said national commercial plans, “particularly Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plans, as well as local carriers, entered the health insurance marketplaces in 2014.”

Plans previously providing coverage only for Medicaid beneficiaries and cooperatives also entered the marketplaces in a number of areas, the researchers said. “As a result of competition, premiums were surprisingly modest in many areas, particularly in comparison with benchmarks such as small group market premiums.”

The study analyzed non-group marketplace plans. “We focus on 17 states and the District of Columbia, which were the first to complete their rate review and approval processes,” the researchers said.

Overall, the study found that: Continue reading