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Why Affordable Care Act health insurance rates will go up again

Jun 16, 2017

Health insurance costs are going up next year. By a lot. How much depends on the Trump administration and Congress.

Blue Cross plans to raise insurance rates for plans it offers through the Affordable Care Act by an average of about 27% for individuals and close to 14% for Blue Care Network plans. The Detroit News reports another insurer, Priority Health, is proposing a nearly 18% hike for individuals buying through the Affordable Care Act. But, the rate hikes could be even higher.

Richard Hirth, the department chair of Health Management and Policy at University of Michigan School of Public Health, joined Stateside to explain why the rates are going up. 

"Last year, we saw increases in the state of about 17%, on average, so the proposed increases are kind of on the same order," Hirth said. "It was hoped that this would be the year that it would stabilize, in terms of premiums. The Obamacare plans have been under priced for a number of years because insurers didn't anticipate the risk pool would be quite as bad as it turned out to be with a lot of younger, healthier people not buying into the system and instead paying the penalty.

"So it's a little bit disappointing, in a sense, that we have another year of similar premium increases, but it probably reflects the uncertainties surrounding the system," he added.

Listen to the full interview above to hear how big of a role uncertainty is playing in these rate increases and what the short-term and long-term effects they will have on the Health Michigan program.

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